AuthorTaylor Allen

“I’m a human first and a journalist second”

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Two journalists came into our class to discuss an ethical dilemma of reporting on addiction. A big portion of the discussion was to ensure that reporting is not sensationalized. Morgan Zalot of NBC Philadelphia and Elana Gordon of WHYY spoke about their experiences reporting on the sensitive topic. Zalot describes her experience reporting on addiction “by accident in a way”. She was...

The Bridge Way School: A Sanctuary

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Rebecca Bonner created The Bridge Way School after her daughter developed addiction problems her freshman year of high school. Her daughter went to rehab for five months and then went back to her local high school. Because it was the same environment as before, her daughter ended up relapsing within the first 10 months back at school. She debated just putting her daughter in another local high...

Recovery and College

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Jimmy Hatzel and Robert Ashford came to our class to discuss collegiate recovery. I want to start off this reflection by stating that I empathize with anyone seeking recovery pursuing higher education. A huge aspect of the college culture revolves around experimenting with various substances. Some colleges that already have some type of collegiate recovery programs include The College of New...

How Two CrossFit Trainers Combat Addiction

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Gavin Young and Melody Schofield got their way to long-term recovery unconventionally. Most speakers who have spoken to us have primarily talked about rehab, recovery housing, medicated-assistance, or abstinence as their way to ‘get clean’. In direct contrast, Young and Schofield found fitness. Schofield has always been involved with high-intensity fitness. She talks about how she was...

Chuck Blair: “I see religion as a way to reconnect with each other”

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Allow me to start off this reflection by stating that I am extremely uncomfortable with organized religion.  I would never judge someone on their beliefs, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t critical. I understand that Chuck Blair is a pastor and that the way he speaks to large groups is probably always similar to sermons.  Therefore, I will admit, I did not like his presentation style...

Mathew Schmonsees: “We’re making a positive impact”

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Mathew Schmonsees works within the Philadelphia Treatment Court at the First Judicial District of PA. He has worked with the court since 2009. He has a background in working in Behavioral Health. His work is primarily about improving behavioral health and criminal reform services together. The purpose of drug court is to divert away from traditional mass incarceration. As a whole, the entity does...

Fred Way: “It’s difficult out here getting to recovery”

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There are roughly about 70 recovery houses in Philadelphia. According to Executive Director of Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences Fred Way, only about 20 of those 70 are certified. A certified recovery house means that clients are guaranteed quality service. Many recovery houses are not certified. In fact, a lot of recovery houses are substandard, according to Way. In order to be...

Keli McLoyd: “They work, period. They save lives, period.”

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Keli McLoyd works for the Treatment Research Institute and she’s not afraid to educate people on addiction. Although they are many methods to the road to the recovery, McLoyd acknowledges and approves of medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted treatment is when a person who is struggling with addiction take either Buprenorphine, Methadone, or Naltrexone to help with their...

The Intersectionality of the needs of HIV and Mental Health

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Philadelphia FIGHT is a unique health provider and treatment center because it caters specifically towards people with HIV/AIDS. Philadelphia FIGHT is located at 13th and Locust in the Gayborhood in Philadelphia. It was originally a HIV/AIDS health center but that has broadened to also encompass mental health. It is expected for the organization to be able to service anyone with mental health...

A Mother-Daughter Experience

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Chelsey and Judy Cain were the first mother-daughter duo to come to the class. What stood out to me was that although their stories overlapped, the two had extremely different perspectives about Chelsey’s addiction. Judy admits that for the majority of the time that Chelsey still lived in her home, she was in denial about Judy admits that for the majority of the time that Chelsey still...

Eric Miller: “Everyone knows someone with an addiction…but no one’s talking about it”

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Police Officer Eric Miller acknowledged right off the bat that law enforcements officers don’t have the best reputation when it comes to dealing with people with addiction struggles. However, Miller is not the police officer stereotype. Miller believes in rehabilitation rather than incarceration being the solution to addiction. He makes the assertion that addiction issues are more...

Devin Reaves: “Because white kids are dying in the suburbs, we now need reform.”

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Devin Reaves was our first guest speaker that intertwined class and race with the issue of addiction. Reaves grew up upper-middle class, graduated in the top 10 percentile of his class, and attended Drexel University on a full ride. He isn’t the stereotypical drug user or person in long-term recovery and that was exactly his lesson to us. Addiction can happen to anyone. Unfortunately...

Jon Orens: “Addiction is the worst disease because it makes you lie, cheat, and steal”

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Jon Orens lost his son a few months ago because of addiction. Orens has gone and done these presentations because he says he helps him with his own healing. Orens tells his story of how it was like having a son with an addiction for about eleven years. Orens begins with his son’s experimentation in high school which ultimately lead to his demise 11 years later. What is particularly amazing...

Scott McLane: “Addiction is Not Like The Anonymous People”

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Scott McLane is unapologetically honest about his road to recovery. I knew he an interesting character as soon as he started out with stating that the Anonymous People is not a good representation of people trying to overcome addiction and stay in long-term recovery. I appreciated his honesty in relation to the fact that most people struggle. People who have addiction problems do not wake up and...

Good v. Bad Solutions Journalism

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Good Example: Kids in Prison by Sarah Gonzalez. This is actually an audio package news series. There are multiple parts to this story. However, the gist is that black teenagers are tried as adults at a larger rate than their white counterparts. The first part of this story begins with a lot of data-heavy information about the disparity. The story then goes on to explain the hostile relationship...