AuthorErin Moran

Reporting on Addiction: A Q&A with two journalists

R

Last week, Morgan Zalot of NBC Philadelphia and Elana Gordon of WHYY came to our class to talk about their experiences with reporting on addiction in Philadelphia. Zalot was part of the team that worked on Generation Addiction and Gordon is a health reporter who often writes about addiction and its causes and effects. The reporters both told us that they are conscious of the language they use in...

Recovery high schools: ‘peer pressure in the best way possible’

R

Rebecca Bonner, the head of school at the Bridge Way School — a recovery high school — understands how difficult addiction can be for high school students. Bonner’s daughter was 14 years old during the height of her addiction. Bonner said that when he daughter was struggling, she tried to find a recovery high school for her to attend but the closest one was in Boston. There are also no...

Robert Ashford and Jimmy Hatzell: finding recovery in college

R

Jimmy Hatzell, the chief technology officer at Life of Purpose Treatment, said he felt like there was an asterisk next to his name as an undergraduate at Penn State. When he overheard his classmates talking about partying over the weekend or drinking at tailgates, he said he didn’t feel like he belonged in class. It wasn’t until he found a recovery community on campus that he finally...

CrossFit, exercise can be a ‘huge part’ of recovery

C

Gavin Young said he was never athletic as a kid. Now he’s a CrossFit trainer for Human Strength, a free weekly workout class for people in recovery. Human Strength is a program in several gyms throughout the country. The program is an offshoot of Phoenix MultiSport, a chain of gyms out west that specifically service people in recovery. Both Human Strength and Phoenix MultiSport serve as...

Finding recovery through religion

F

Rob Nash, a member of New Church Live, said he broke nine of the Ten Commandments by the time he was 19 years old. Nash choked up when he introduced himself as a “drug addict.” But Nash, now 70, uses ministry as a part of his recovery and helps others by sharing his own story. Nash came to talk to our class with Chuck Blair, the senior pastor of the church, and Mary Haney, another...

Philadelphia Drug Courts: ‘Really just scratching the surface’

P

Matthew Schmonsees, the coordinator for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, came to talk to our class about treatment courts in Philadelphia. However, rather than having a background in criminal justice or law, Schmonsees started his career in behavioral health care. Schmonsees works as a coordinator for the drug court and the DUI court within Philadelphia’s treatment courts system...

Philadelphia recovery ‘capital’ of the United States

P

Before Fred Way came to speak to our class, I thought I had an idea of what recovery housing was. However, when I thought about recovery housing, I thought about the university recovery housing we had talked about or imagined facilities similar to residential treatment center. Although we often discussed recovery housing as a potential solution, I never thought of recovery housing for what it is:...

Treating addictions with medications: ‘They work. Period.’

T

Keli McLoyd, a researcher at the Treatment Research Institute, said she likes to keep her personal recovery separate from her policy work. Much of McLoyd’s work has to do with medication-assisted recovery, so she spent most of her time with the class talking about the pros and cons of the different medications used to treat addictions: methadone, suboxone and naltrexone. Each of the...

Philadelphia FIGHT counselors help ‘underserved group of people’

P

On Thursday, two visitors from Philadelphia FIGHT came to talk to the class: Akia Feggans, the Director of Behavioral Health at the Diana Baldwin Clinic, and her coworker Karen Shible, a therapist at the Teach Recovery Education Empowerment intensive outpatient program. The pair discussed their experiences treating low-income people in Philadelphia who have substance use disorders and are HIV...

‘Just make it to midnight’: emergency care of opioid overdoses

&

Eric Miller, a police officer from the Narberth Police Department, said emergency responders like himself and medics Chas Carlson and Ian Stoddart have been “screaming at the top of our lungs, ‘We have a problem,'” for 10 years. The men explained the medical side of an overdose — like how opioid attacks the cells and stops a person from breathing — and how Narcan can...

‘Rich or poor, white or black, young or old — this disease will kill you’

&

Although many people have only just started to pay attention to the opioid epidemic, Roland Lamb from Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services said the city’s opioid problem dates back several decades. He said Philadelphia has had the most potent and least expensive heroin in the country for the past 30 years. Even though Philadelphia is known for...

Devin Reaves discusses social justice as a solution

D

Devin Reaves describes himself as “a product of the crack epidemic of the ’80s.” “It destroyed a generation,” he said. Reaves is working to solve problems that he thinks could have been solved years ago with Philadelphia’s opioid task force, which is comprised of four subcommittees with members in health care and criminal justice professions. Reaves also works...

Reflecting on treatment options with Scott McLane and Rich Stockwell

R

When Scott McLane stood before our class and told us that treatment failed him from day one, I felt sick to my stomach. McLane’s honesty was powerful and sharp and it reminded me of countless friends I’ve met through mental health treatment — and myself. I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health and addiction treatment and who it’s actually for. McLane made it clear...

Comparing News and Solutions Reporting

C

I chose to compare a June 25, 2016 news story on Philly.com with a Dec. 7, 2016 solutions story in Mother Jones. Both stories address different medications that can be used to treat addiction, but the Mother Jones article using solutions to drive the story. The Philly.com article, What addiction science says about getting – and staying – off opioids, uses a little bit of data, but no...