AuthorJim McCormick

A Thoughtful Approach to Covering Addiction

A

This was one of my favorite lectures of the semester given that we learned so much about the process of developing feature content on addiction and recovery for mainstream outlets from the two journalists that spoke in class. Elana Gordon is a public health reporter for WHTY The Pulse who offered some really deft insights into the nuances of developing stories in this space. There is a...

Recovery High: The Bridge Way School

R

I spent much of high school high. Wild Turkey Wednesdays marked a weekly ritual that saw my friends and I split a fifth of affordable—and uncomfortably warm—whiskey in the morning hours before first bell. For many of my friends, this behavior would prove merely a phase. For me, it was the tarmac to a 20-year odyssey of alcohol and drug abuse. Impossible hypotheticals are a reality in the...

Human Strength proves vital for those in recovery

H

It’s not surprising to find fitness coaches Gavin Young and Melody Schofield are providing a uniquely valuable service to people in recovery—given both are also in long-term recovery. Anyone who claims at least 48 hours of sobriety can attend a free Saturday afternoon fitness class thanks to Human Strength, a nonprofit fitness program based on CrossFit’s methodologies. The program is...

We Need More Recovery Resources on Temple’s Campus

W

I was struck by the sheer number of students at Temple University and the fact there isn’t a legitimate recovery program in place. There are 17,020 students at the university, while this city is amid an ongoing drug crisis. Robert Ashford offered some sobering data, as he’s a masters of social work candidate at the University of Pennsylvania studying recovery in the college population...

New Church Live: Faith and Recovery Can Work Well

N

It’s incredible to consider Rob Nash will have achieved 34 years of sobriety in May. From a one-time “successful addict,” Nash works with others in service in order to help share the light that was shined on him during his path to long-term recovery. Nash works with New Church Live, a parish born seven years ago with recovery advocacy as an important part their platform. Chuck...

Drug Court is an Important Piece of the Recovery Model

D

It’s always helpful to humanize the legal system, as it Matthew Schmonsees—Coordinator of the 1st Judicial District Court of Pennsylvania—was an affable and informed representative of Philly’s “Drug Court.” The approach of Philly’s Drug Court is unique, yet effective; as they employ a year-long diversionary program set on providing a series of recovery resources for...

Fred Way Reveals Sobering Realities in Recovery Realty

F

Housing is an incredibly overlooked aspect of recovery from addiction. This proves particularly true when it comes to government funding, zoning rights, and finding affordable and safe housing for those seeking to recover. The terms “seeking recovery,” “in recovery” and “recovering” can be applied to individuals who are making concerted efforts to remove destructive patterns of substance abuse...

Medically-Assisted Recovery Proves Pivotal as an Option for Patients

M

Keli McCloyd is an Associate for Policy Research and Analysis at the Philadelphia-based Treatment Research Institute who works specifically in medically-assisted recovery programs. “They work, period,” she says in regards to the efficacy of complementary drug tapering. “They save people’s lives, period.” A common thread among advocates we’ve had speak in our...

Philadelphia FIGHT Provides Vital Support and Education to Those in Need

P

Akia Feggans is an engaging speaker, as she’s dually candid about and concerned for the population she serves at Philadelphia FIGHT as the Director of Behavioral Health at the Diana Baldwin Clinic. FIGHT is a comprehensive collective of community health centers in the city. Feggans’ colleague Karen Shible is a therapist at TREE, an intensive outpatient program. The work these women do...

What We Are Afraid of Often Sets Us Free: Chelsey & Judith Cain

W

You have to really own your own bullshit to ever be free of it. This is something entirely apparent when hearing Chelsey Cain and her mother Judith discuss Chelsey’s long battle with drug addiction and imprisonment and now into an exciting recovery journey. Chelsey’s parents, particularly her mother, had a tough time balancing support and boundaries in dealing with her addiction. In...

Learning About the Vital Role of First Responders and Narcan

L

The simplest sayings can sometimes canvass the most complex concepts. For example, Police Officer Eric Miller of the Marple Township Police Department succinctly captured the troubling dichotomy of addiction in American, “Every knows someone with an addiction, but no one’s talking about it.” Miller was an effective and affable in that he helped humanize the perspective of police...

Bridging Data and Advocacy: “Chase people, not the drug”

B

It was revealing to hear Roland Lamb, Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS), speak to our class about the opioid overdose crisis directly after hearing from Devin Reaves. The revelatory element emerges from the connection between Reaves’ social justice platform in the realm of recovery and the hard data Lamb shared that...

Social justice drives Devin Reaves’ career in advocacy

S

We’ve heard the plant and soil metaphor often applied to addiction; the health of the soil is integral to the sustainable health of the plant. Which is to say, one’s environment in early recovery is critical to finding enduring sobriety. For example, Devin Reaves revealed just how important the soil proves in recovery for those exiting prison, and yet, securing housing and employment...

Jon and Daniel Orens: The Dragon Within

J

I’m continually amazed by the bravery and selflessness of parents and family members of overdose victims. There is so much strength and resolve in the voice and tone of Jon Orens—a father who shared with our class the devastation his son Daniel’s death from an overdose has caused him and his family over the past year. Jon chooses to empower himself and others in response to his...

The power of altruism: Scott McLane and Rich Stockwell reflect on recovery

T

Scott McClane’s candid honesty and compelling story of years toiling with addiction reminded me of the power of oral history. This is illuminated in Richard Stockwell’s assertion, “helping another alcoholic is the best way to sustain sobriety.” An essential part of the solution to the epidemic of addiction is for us to hear the honest stories of those who have endured and...