AuthorMegan Dorantes

Finding Strength in Recovery

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With 48 hours of sobriety and a want to begin on the path to recovery, Human Strength, a non-profit sober gym, will gladly take you in and start you on a regimen to better health. Human Strength is a spin-off CrossFit project from Phoenix Multisport, a recovery gym established by former addict Scott Strode. While working towards his own sobriety, Scott found himself involved in activities like...

“Blessed, Broken, and Shared”: How One Church Tries to Address Addiction

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For the past few years, Chuck Blair has been leading NewChurch LIVE, a congregation that has come together to address various community issues – among which is addiction. Accompanied by Rob, a former addict, and Mary, a mother who lost her son to addiction, Chuck introduced us to his idea of spirituality, assistance, and recovery. Chuck first stresses the difference between NewChurch LIVE...

Better Options, Better Outcomes: Treatment Courts Offer Alternative to Jail Time

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A system seemingly bent on punishment has been trying to offer redemption for those brought in on drug or alcohol charges. Philadelphia’s Drug/Alcohol Treatment Court has been integrated into the city’s justice system since 1997, and according to coordinator Matthew Schmonsees, with great success. The Drug/Treatment Court is now an option for those with Substance Abuse Disorders who end up in the...

Prescriptions for Recovery

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Keli McLoyd’s class visit focused on the pharmaceutically assisted treatment for recovery – a touchy topic for those in the recovery world. Sharing data sources about mental health, and her own team’s work in pharmaceutical research, Keli provided us with clear information about this approach to recovery. It’s a strange catch 22: these medications are used to kick addictions, but often end...

The Limits of Stigmatization

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Discussion around addiction is on the rise, and voices from every corner of debate are trying to be heard and understood. Today, Police Officer Eric Miller, joined by Narberth first responders Ian Stoddart and Chas Carlson, shared their thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of being the first on scene of an overdose. Responders face multiple barriers that make it difficult to administer...

“Everybody is Important Here” – Gender Disparities in Addiction

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Roland Lamb came prepared with full slides of saddening statistics and qualitative evidence of the destruction in our own community. Lamb’s presentation showed a lot of numbers about the city and its drug-related death tolls – and pointed out an interesting trend of Philly women. Towards the end of the conversation, Lamb mentioned a rising trend in opioid overdose among women. Roland’s...

Acknowledging Addiction

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Jon Orens lost his son to addiction just last fall. Only months later, he has started speaking to individuals and groups about the dangers and signs of drug addiction among youth, a topic Jon wished he talked about before his oldest son succumbed to the disease. As Jon recounts statistics of the epidemic alongside anecdotes about his son Dan, he emphasizes the lack of acknowledgement of the local...

Reflection on Scott McLane

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“The system failed me,” was the blunt opening to Scott’s McLane’s story, a sentiment that resonates with  many others. The public services offered to those with substance abuse disorders simply put in motion a vicious cycle of poor recovery methods and a lack of support that makes it easy to relapse. Scott’s experience shows that the system in place lacks a crucial element to recovery: human...

Article Comparison

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Both The Atlantic and Salon have recently published pieces that address the growing trend of finding treatment from opioid addiction through use of other intoxicating substances. In one, marijuana is examined as a possible treatment, and in the other a holistic experience is shown to better the addicted mind. In The Atlantic, Sarah Zhang highlights Doctor Feeny’s reaction to the frequent refusal...

10 Things I Learned from The Anonymous People

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⅔ American Families are Affected Addiction – The film pivots on the dark statistic that two out of three American families are affected by addiction – whether publicly or anonymously.   Community is Everything – Being in a community that is accepting and understanding will do wonders in the recovery process. The Addiction Problem is Overflowing into the Prison Problem  –...

10 Ways to Incorporate Solutions in the Newsroom

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Finding a Story– When looking for a good solutions story, ask you questions like “Who is talking about the problem? Who isn’t?” Who is responding? What is working? What isn’t? Making Sure it Doesn’t sound like a PR Piece– Avoid sounding like PR by “focusing on the big picture.” Show how the problem affects the community as a whole, and how the response you’re covering can affect them...

5 Things I Learned from Jean Friedman Rudovsky

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Your Data Will Separate You from Advocacy – The line between solutions journalism and advocacy is razor thin, so it is crucial that your information is based in proven fact. Make sure to choose and use your data carefully; you want to enhance your story with inflexible information that is supported by credible sources. Word Choice is Important – When writing your story, be conscious of the...

10 Things I Learned from the Solutions Journalism Tool Kit

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1. “It Increases Reader Engagement” – As discussed in the tool kit, solution journalism is most likely to spread via social media, meaning it tends to create a more interactive relationship with the reader. The social media platform requires that readers actively share information and stories, and allow for instant communication on the piece. Since solution journalism thrives on the...