AuthorMeghan Costa

10 Things I Learned This Semester About Reporting on Addiction Solutions

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Appropriate Language We learned about the importance of using appropriate language when reporting on addiction in the very beginning of the semester, which was helpful going forward because by the time I started writing my stories, I was so used to using the language I did not even realize I was utilizing it. Throughout the semester, I made sure to use appropriate language in the blog posts, and...

Reporting on Addiction: Advice From Two Journalists

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Elena Gordon from The Pulse at WHYY and Morgan Zalot, who worked on Generation Addicted by NBC 10, came in to speak with our class for our final session of guest speakers. “Radio can be a very powerful medium for talking about this kind of stuff,” Gordon said. Gordon writes articles for The Pulse, but she also contributes to The Pulse’s radio and podcast segments. Gordon started in public...

Recovery High Schools: The Bridge Way School

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When Rebecca Bonner’s daughter was struggling with a substance use disorder, the closest recovery high school she could find was in Boston, a ways away from their home near Philadelphia. Instead of uprooting her entire family, Bonner thought of a different solution – opening her own recovery high school. Bonner opened the Bridge Way School in 2011 in Roxborough, which is a...

Building a Collegiate Recovery Program: Robert Ashford and Jimmy Hatzell

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Collegiate recovery programs (CRP) are becoming much more prevalent across the United States. Currently, there are 170 collegiate recovery programs open or in the process of opening, Robert Ashford said. Ashford is currently working towards a masters degree in social work at the University of Pennsylvania and he also identifies as a person in long term recovery. He is also the founding program...

Examples of Human Strength: Melanie Schofield and Gavin Young

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As long as you’ve been sober for 48 hours, the Human Strength program will let you work out with them. Human strength recovery crossfit is a part of the Phoenix Multisport Sober Active Community, which started in Boulder, Colorado. The gym now has five locations across the United States. Melody Schofield and Gavin Young volunteer as Human Strength trainers at fearless athletics, a crossfit...

Matthew Schmonsees: “We can have a better solution than locking people up in jail”

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Matthew Schmonsees is the coordinator for Philadelphia Treatment Court in the first judicial district of Pennsylvania. Founded in 1997, the Philadelphia Treatment Court was the first treatment court in Pennsylvania. 10 years later, Philadelphia’s DUI treatment court was founded in 2007. Today, there are 106 treatment courts in Pennsylvania. Schmonsees said about 5,000 people are arrested...

Recovery Housing: Fred Way

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Fred Way is the executive director of the Philadelphia Association of Recovery Residences (PARR). He came in to our class to discuss what PARR does and the issues the organization faces in Philadelphia today. For recovery houses that are substandard, Way said the staff is almost always unpaid and there are many issues with overcrowding. Most substandard recovery houses do not receive funding...

Keli McLoyd: In Defense of Medication-Assisted Treatment

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The Treatment Research Institute of Philadelphia focuses on independent, nonprofit research and development committed to science-driven reform of policy and treatment in substance use disorders. Keli McLoyd works for TRI to work specifically with the research surrounding policies dealing with medication-assisted treatment. Currently, the FDA approves three drugs for medication-assisted treatment:...

Akia Feggans and Karen Shible from Philadelphia FIGHT

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Philadelphia FIGHT is a service organization designed to provide primary care, advocacy, education and research on potential treatments for people living with HIV or AIDS. As a part of Philadelphia FIGHT, the Diana Baldwin Clinic and the Teach Recovery Education Empowerment (TREE) intensive outpatient program specializes in treating HIV/AIDS positive patients who also have a substance use...

Stories of Recovery: Chelsey and Judy Cain

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Judy Cain and her husband decided not to post bail for their daughter, Chelsey, after she was arrested for selling guns to get money for heroin. Although they were scared and upset to see their daughter sent to prison, the judge on Chelsey’s case had some shocking, but reassuring, words of encouragement. “If you hadn’t done that, she’d be dead in 2 weeks,” the judge said. Chelsey, like many of...

Roland Lamb: “It does not matter if you’re rich or poor, black or white – this disease will kill you” 02/23

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“Everybody is important here,” said Roland Lamb, the deputy commissioner for the department of behavioral health and intellectual disability services in Philadelphia. “Everyone deserves to be seen and treated like a human being when it comes to addiction.” However, not nearly enough people are treated for addiction in Philadelphia, which is currently the largest hub on the east coast for heroin...

Ian Stoddart: “People who are doctors should be writing medical legislation – but they aren’t.”

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Ian Stoddart has been a paramedic for 30 years. He is currently working in Ardmore, PA which is a suburb outside of Philadelphia. Despite his location in the wealthier suburbs, Stoddart finds himself frequently on call for opiate or other drug overdoses. Stoddart said he believes insurance companies and hospital administrators are partially responsible for the opiate epidemic because they are...

Devin Reaves: “No solution that does not involve social justice is even worth discussing”

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Now that white adolescents are featured on magazine covers using heroin and other drugs, people everywhere are finally beginning to acknowledge the heroin epidemic. Opiate use has been a huge problem in American cities for decades, but only now have people started to care about it, since heroin use has spread to the suburbs. Headlines with these photographs often read “The New Face of Addiction,”...

“Thank God I got him into rehab, now he’ll be fine.”

On Nov.16, 2016, 28-year-old Danny Orens passed away after battling with a substance-use disorder for 11 years. He had recently celebrated two years of sobriety. Jon Orens, Danny’s father, remained remarkably calm and collected while he talked to our class about Danny. I admire this about him – to me, his composure reflected the immense amount of passion he has for educating others on addiction...