10 Things I Learned This Semester About Reporting on Addiction Solutions

  1. Language is so important. We were reminded of this so many times throughout the semester, but while I was out reporting I really got a better sense of why. You never know what people’s sensitives are, and I never wanted to offend an interviewee. Also, I thought it was interesting to see how people in long-term recovery all have different perspectives when it comes to appropriate language. Some people were huge advocates of changing the vocabulary, and other people were ambivalent about the matter. More specifically, some people referred to themselves as “addicts,” while others labeled themselves as someone in “long-term recovery.”
  2. I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to report and write from a solutions angle. I am so used to reporting and writing in a traditional journalistic style, that I sometimes forgot all of the right questions to ask my interviewees.
  3. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) remains a controversial topic. We heard from experts who had the numbers to prove the MAT works, but there are still people who are skeptical/ don’t believe in it.
  4. I learned how crucial it is to take control of your interview. Often, interview subjects will sort of go off on a tangent, and it’s important to reel them back in. If not, you might end up getting a whole lot of information you didn’t want and forget to ask the important questions. This is important in any form of journalism, but in solutions journalism, it’s even more crucial. I needed to remember to ask for proof and data, not just a profile of an individual. 
  5. There are so many solutions out there, but not enough people know. For example, there should be more recovery high schools and more colleges with recovery programs. 
  6. People need to take the time to educate themselves on addiction. Maybe more people would stop thinking addiction is a choice or worse, a moral flaw, if they knew more about the science of addiction.
  7. Solutions are not just rehab, 12-step meetings, or halfway houses. For some people, religion helps with the pain of addiction. For others, fitness helps them cope. Solutions come in all forms. 
  8. There is a need for more methadone clinics. The whole idea of N.I.M.B.Y. (Not in my backyard) is prevalent in certain areas, and more people could be getting the help they need if the conversation about methadone shifted.
  9. Vivitrol shots could be $1,000, but if the patient has good health insurance, he/ she might only have a small co-pay. I think it’s important people know this because the high price might scare people away from a viable solution.
  10. Every single person I spoke to either had a negative experience or a negative tone while talking about Suboxone. This really intrigued me because drugs like Vivitrol seemed to be deemed more acceptable to the people I spoke to. I think it’s important to break this misconception and find out how and why Suboxone can be an effective solution.

About the author

Danielle Nick

Danielle Nick is a senior journalism student at Temple University. She believes traditional hard news is valuable, but incomplete. Solutions journalism, on the other hand, offers a new, exciting, and improved way to tell a story. Contact Danielle at danielle.nick@temple.edu.

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