AuthorMaggie Andresen

Journalists Elana Gordon and Morgan Zalot speak on covering addiction-related issues

J

Elana Gordon, public health reporter for WHYY The Pulse, and Morgan Zalot, formerly of NBC 10 and reporter for the station’s Generation Addicted piece, discussed the challenges of reporting on addiction as the last class speakers for the semester. Both Gordon and Zalot noted the necessity of adding context to sensitive circumstances, using their narratives to respect language associated...

“Best kept secret in Philadelphia,” Rebecca Bonner on the recovery-minded Bridge Way High School

&

Rebecca Bonner, has been with The Bridge Way School since its origins in 2011. For the past six years, the high school has addressed substance use disorder in a comprehensive way that involves built-in recovery supplements to the traditional learning environment. “There is a spectrum of substance use disorders [among high schoolers],” said Bonner, Executive Director of the Greater...

“You need support where you exist,” Jim Hatzell and Robert Ashford on collegiate recovery programming

&

Both Robert Ashford and Jim Hatzell attribute the success in their lives to collegiate recovery programs, which are linked to the lowest rate of relapse of any diversionary program on record. Of the some 5,300 universities operational in the United States today, there are only about 170 noted CRPs in the nation. According to Ashford, about ten percent of Temple University students fall on the...

“This is meant to keep people coming back,” Melody Schofield and Gavin Young on recovery through fitness

&

The Phoenix Multisport Sober Active Community began in Boulder, Colorado as a nonprofit gym for people actively working towards their recovery. With three in Colorado, one in Orange Country, one in Boise, Idaho, and one in Boston, Massachusetts, the program is rapidly expanding to cities around the nation. Phoenix Multisport’s beta program, Human Strength, is also gaining traction within...

“From people who are deeply blessed to people who are deeply broken,” New Church Live practices faith-based recovery efforts

&

Rob Nash, 70, is two months away from celebrating his 34th year living sober and clean. “May 14, 1983,” Nash was emotional as recalled the date his family staged an intervention to save his life. A self-described “successful addict,” Nash has dedicated his time to helping others struggling with addiction since entering long-term recovery. Mary Haney is an active recovery...

“The ultimate goal is to keep people out of the criminal justice system,” Matthew Schmonsees on Philadelphia Treatment Court

&

Matthew Schmonsees, Coordinator of the 1st Judicial District Court of Pennsylvania, works daily to prevent those working through their addiction from ending up incarcerated. The approach of the Philadelphia Treatment Court is unique but effective; the diversionary year-long program offered to first time offenders claiming a 78% graduation rate and a 91% rate of record expungement. Operational...

“They work, period. They save people’s lives, period,” Keli McLoyd on medication-assisted recovery

&

Keli McLoyd, Associate for Policy Research and Analysis at the Philadelphia-based Treatment Research Institute, holds a fixed view on medication-assisted recovery. “They work, period,” she said firmly. “They save people’s lives, period.” McLoyd drew comparisons of recovery from addiction to Hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes. “You wouldn’t ask a Diabetic...

“It’s an all encompassing disease,” Chelsey and Judy Cain on Opioid Addiction

&

Judy Cain didn’t believe her daughter was doing drugs, despite what others were telling her. Despite her car vanishing occasionally, an accumulating credit card statement, and blackened spoons found in her basement, it couldn’t be drugs – not Chelsey, not her daughter. “I was in denial,” said Judy. Only when Judy kicked Chelsey out of the house did she notice how...

“It’s your problem, it’s my problem, it’s our problem,” Legal and Medical Perspectives

Speakers Ian Stoddart, Chas Carlson, and Eric Miller of Narberth, P.A were invited to speak regarding the medical and legal aspects of overdose deaths. Stoddart, a 30-year paramedic and Carlson, a six year EMT, discussed the minutiae of Narcan, active ingredient Naloxone, which immediately reverses the effects of an opioid overdose when administered correctly. Miller, a police officer with 23...

“This Disease Will Kill You,” Thoughts from Roland Lamb on Substance Use and Abuse

&

Roland Lamb, Deputy Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, works with statistics on substance use every day. Numbers that could seem trivial out of context gain meaning when Lamb breaks down their significance, like the bleak fact that out of every dollar spent on addiction related services, $0.97 is delegated to the...

“Every overdose death is preventable,” Devin Reaves on the opioid epidemic

&

Devin Reaves is many things. Social justice advocate, Ivy League graduate, a person in long-term recovery since 2007. Reaves sits on the Mayor’s Opioid Task Force, teaming with other healthcare professionals to offer measurable improvements in addiction treatment. The only problem? The task force is only meeting for three months, in contrast to standing opioid task forces in cities like New...

“Welcome to hell, but you’re not alone,” Reflections by Jon Orens

&

Jon Orens was calm as he told the story of his oldest son’s ten year addiction. He was collected while explaining the toxicology report he received after Danny’s death only late last year. Perhaps this is because Orens found a community of other survivors, people who watched their loved ones struggle with and ultimately succumb to the disease that controlled his son’s life for...

No Fairytale, The Recovery of Scott McLane

N

Scott was very frank in his presentation, speaking without censorship in a way that contrasted with the ‘fairytale’ reality of recovery presented by The Anonymous People. His story recounted how the system of recovery networks failed him from the day he fell into his addiction. Scott described his addiction beginning with his father’s, conceding that while he was accepted to...

Compare, Solutions-based Reporting or Not?

C

Data? Experts? Varying perspectives? “Howdunnit?” These are some key factors we look for when investigating whether or not a story is solutions-oriented. A story can be informative and well-written but still lack a solutions angle, so it’s always important to be mindful of what makes a story solutions oriented. When Dylan McCoy of The Atlantic reported on a recovery high school...

Lessons Learned From Film, The Anonymous People

L

23.5 million. That’s the number of people in the United States that define themselves in active recovery. Two-thirds of American families are touched by addiction in some way, and the film stresses that ‘everybody knows somebody.’ It’s incredible to consider, therefore, how much stigma continues to surround the word ‘addiction,’ which is a legitimate disease...