AuthorGrace Shallow

Bridge Way School in Roxborough: a ‘sanctuary’

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For many kids, schools double as pharmacies — the place where they can buy and supply drugs. Rebecca Bonner knew she couldn’t send her daughter, who was beginning her recovery from substance use, back to her old school. But the closest recovery high school she could find was a five-hour car ride away in Boston. So, in 2011, Bonner founded The Bridge Way School, a recovery high school in...

Robert Ashford and Jimmy Hatzell: finding recovery in college

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There are 17,020 missed opportunities currently enrolled at Temple. 17,020 students would benefit if Temple made college recovery program and services a “line item” on its budget, said Robert Ashford, a master’s of social work candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Ashford and Jimmy Hatzell, chief technology officer at Life of Purpose Treatment, visited our class on...

Using CrossFit to supplement recovery

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About six years into Gavin Young’s recovery, he still turned to a few vices, like chain-smoking, serial dating and yoga. He found opportunity in CrossFit about three to four years ago, and today, he is a coach for Human Strength — a nonprofit that offers no-cost CrossFit courses for anyone with 48 hours of sobriety.  Human Strength hosts a weekly course at Fearless Athletics in South...

A solution to addiction: ‘just love them’

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Rob Nash broke nine out of the 10 Commandments in the Bible by the time he was 19. Years later, three days into living at a rehabilitation center for his substance use disorder, he said he felt abandoned by God. Now, 70 years old and on the cusp of a 34-year sobriety anniversary, he’s guided by a god who is loving and understanding. “That’s a miracle,” Nash said as he...

Matt Schmonsees: just ‘scratching the surface’

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Matt Schmonsees, the coordinator of the Philadelphia Treatment Court and the Philadelphia DUI Treatment Court, acknowledged that there are people the treatment courts are not reaching when he visited class on Tuesday. The treatment court alone admits 200 individuals into the year-long program annually, while there about 450 offenses in the city committed by eligible individuals every month. But...

425 beds in a city of 1.5 million

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Fred Way, the last speaker to visit our class, is the executive director of Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences – an organization that monitors recovery and residential support services provided in  Pennsylvania. Way is involved with the approval, implementation and maintenance of recovery housing in Philadelphia. He detailed the process of officially opening a recovery house, which has...

Discussing medication-assisted treatment with Keli McLoyd

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The conversation our class had with Keli McLoyd from the Research Treatment Institute on Tuesday provided a lot of helpful information and resources to use moving forward with the project. The thing I liked the most about the talk was discussing the differences between buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone. I think media coverage of these medications hasn’t delved into the...

A ‘fight’ against HIV and addiction

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Last Thursday, Akia Feggans from Philadelphia Fight, an organization offering comprehensive services for people who are high-risk or have HIV, AIDS and addiction. The intersection of these two diseases isn’t something I had considered before, and 0ne of the most interesting things Feggans said during her visit was that HIV is commonly a symptom of drug use. People who make high-risk...

A mother-daughter account of addiction

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Chelsey and Judith Cain came to class to speak give a mother-daughter account of addiction. The juxtaposition of their stories were really interesting to compare and hear back-to-back. What stuck out to me the most about Judith was her honesty about the difficulty of the decisions parents make when their child has addiction. She said she had to kick Chelsey out, and Chelsey’s father and...

Administering Narcan on the force

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Narbeth Ambulance workers Chas Carlson and Ian Stoddart were joined by Eric Miller, a police officer in the Marple Police Department, to discuss responding to 911 calls and administering Narcan. Stoddart said he saw his role in administering Narcan as part of a cycle of addiction perpetuated within the medical world. He said a patient is prescribed opioids, goes back to doctor to fulfill that...

A class of ‘Rolandisms’

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A button with the word “STIGMA” in black, bold letters, crossed out by bold red lines was pinned to Roland Lamb’s suit as he talked to our class on Feb. 21. Lamb works in the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services and has been a therapist, counselor and administrator concerned with addiction for more than 41 years. He presented our class with lots...

Devin Reaves: A self-proclaimed ‘systems thinker’

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Devin Reaves introduced himself to the class as a person in long-term recovery. But he acknowledged later on that his, and many other people’s, addiction was not an isolated occurrence. Reaves said he is a product of the crack epidemic of the ’80s, citing that the disease is generational. He discussed the war against drugs that was spearheaded by President Ronald Reagan and his wife...

‘Seeing blood, not him’: the story of a grieving father

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Jon Orens began his presentation to our class with three photos overturned. Two photos were of a handsome, muscular twenty-something kid who was smiling, present, aware. The last photo showed someone hooked up to machines in a hospital bed who was out of it, detached from reality, crumpled. The catch? They were all of the same person: Dan Orens, one of Jon’s two sons. Dan died of an...

Reflection on Scott McLane and Rich Stockwell

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Looking back on Scott McLane’s talk, one trait stands out about him: honest. He shared details about his past of addiction and his grievances about the treatment available for anyone addicted. Rich Stockwell shared emotions that were just as raw. He told the class he had two telephone poles along his daily commute to run into at 80 mph, saying he thought his wife and kids would be better...