60: The State of Addiction Treatment – What We Need To Do Differently (Sort Of)

12/6/20 This week we talk with Jessica Hulsey, the founder of Addiction Policy Forum, a group dedicated to the fight to end stigma, help patients and families in crisis and translate the science around addiction.  We talk with Jessica about research surrounding prevention of substance use disorder, why it’s important to not only recognize addiction as a disease, but also incorporate it into our healthcare treatment, and what we need to do differently to assist family and friends when we see them struggling.  This is a great episode for people who struggle with addiction, for friends and family of those who struggle, and for anyone with children who want to prevent substance use disorder.

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

my name is billy i’m a person in long term recovery and i’m here with jason a guy in long term recovery and today we have jessica with addiction policy forum we’d like to talk a little bit about the different challenges affecting the recovery community at this point some things that are going on to change some of the policies and basically access to treatment that seems to be a big barrier in our area and talk about some things we can do to get access to treatment so jessica could you tell us a little bit about yourself why you got involved in this work and what currently you’re doing sure thanks again for having me this morning too i really appreciate it i have been doing this work since 1992. i’m an impacted family member both my parents struggled with heroin use disorder and i’ve lost both of them so this has really kind of been a personal started off as a real personal focus for me other family members struggled with addiction and i’ve lost way too many people so i started addiction policy for them to help other families and patients in crisis and try to change what it feels like when this disease hits your family we’ve been around since 2015 and we have chapters in almost 50 states and really trying to change fundamentally some of the key pieces that i think need to be improved for our space nice and what is basically the goal or the mission of addiction policy form we hope to end addiction as a health care problem in america well that’s a big yeah that’s one of the big i guess barriers to access to treatment i know it was on your website kind of looking around there’s a lot of videos and things i have a really informative youtube channel with a lot of videos and things on there one of them kind of explains how addiction should be viewed more as a disease that’s always sort of been the debate of whether it’s a disease or a moral deficiency from the 12-step fellowship point of view we’ve always looked at it as a disease like a physical mental spiritual disease but on the website i guess it does a pretty short video on explaining i guess the science behind why addiction is a disease would you mind kind of explaining that or breaking that down just a little bit for us and one of the sort of things that we tried to do is translate the science i sort of felt like you know for many years i’ve been doing this work we have all this new knowledge and science and new data and then we have all of us out here patients and families and no one is sort of translating or building a bridge between the two right so we’ve made tremendous advancements and developments over the last 30 years but there needs to be a better pipeline to get that information into the hands of those who really need it so when it comes to addiction as a health care condition i think that it’s really important for a number of reasons it helps individuals understand how to take care of their health it helps families engage in treatment more quickly it helps healthcare providers improve their responses their compassion and their responsiveness to this disease so we really tried to break down the science to get it out there to the the general public a disease is sort of anything that affects an organ or system in your body and it affects the well-being of the individual well addiction definitely fits the bill right it affects your well-being we know from the science that’s been developed that it does affect your brain but we also know that it can be prevented and we know that you can recover from addiction so getting that out there is really important we’ve also tried to break down and we have another series of videos to break down how it affects the brain and explain sort of the symptoms and we we know that addiction can change your priorities and they can change your behavior and even working with some of our folks in recovery to understand why that happens and is is important to do there’s so much self-stigma as well as societal stigma that exists and if we understand the science i think we can do a better job of treating preventing and recovering from the illness yeah and i think at least for myself from like the 12-step fellowship perspective like it’s kind of one of those things where even amongst other members in the fellowship you sometimes find yourself debating like is it a disease is it not a disease does that even really matter for myself i think a lot of times it was easy to just say what doesn’t really matter whether we consider a disease or not if i just follow sort of the 12-step model do what i’m supposed to do i’ll stay clean and recovery will work so i guess from the 12-step fellowship model that’s just a fun thing you can talk about but from a like a policy position why does it matter whether we consider it a disease or not i think it matters because it’s important that we activate our health care system to respond to addiction and not our criminal justice system right so when we recognize acknowledge and build systems of care that see this as other chronic health conditions like diabetes cancer like heart disease we will build the infrastructure and the systems and the funding to intervene and treat addiction better like other health conditions instead of haphazardly or external you know if you think about it so much of treatment to this disease that is very prevalent right when you have 20 million people struggling with addiction that is a large population here in the states right but when you don’t we you don’t sort of necessarily think oh well i’m going to go see this my primary care physician and get checked out or get this assessment or get my loved one my son my daughter my mom my brother my sister right we have a treatment system that is largely external to health care that is privately funded which really cuts off access to folks that don’t have means which needs to be fixed but we also have these myths and mythologies that addiction is a moral failing a character flaw well you chose to do this to yourself all of this ridiculousness that reduces the compassion that we see across the board in how we look at this illness how we look at addiction as a chronic health condition but it also sort of will permeate into health care providers criminal justice education systems employers and so when we understand it as a health condition we understand that you intervene early just like any other health condition right and you treat it and you follow up and you manage your chronic health issue with the support of your family your friends and your network we will be in a better place yeah and that sort of ties into another sort of interesting thing that i saw on the website i know in like say in in 12-step language or whatever we have a sort of cliche that you can’t really help people until they hit their bottom and you know you just have to kind of wait and i know for me as an individual like i maybe have misinterpreted that sometimes to sort of mean well i’m not really going to help someone unless they really ask for help or reach out for help or any of that and i know there was some information on the site about not waiting for people to hit their bottom and what things we can do for early intervention or early prevention yeah i mean i think it’s really important that we sort of when you follow a medical model like if you have known anyone who or even your listeners have known anyone who’s been diagnosed with cancer what is the first thing that you have asked or you think of how early did you catch it what stage stage yeah right well we have stages right or levels of severity for addiction and setting up sort of a societal construct that we’re going to wait for to get as worse as it possibly can before we treat it is just not smart about 90 of those who struggle with addiction um they develop the illness the disorder in their adolescent years or young adult years but we’ve built even a treatment system that is mostly built for adults so by construct we actually have set up the whole system to wait for it to get much worse before we engage i have lots of theories and thoughts on why that is it’s really uncomfortable talking to someone about their drug or alcohol use none of us like to do it i run an addiction non-profit and it probably is on my bottom list of things that i like to do when i have a friend or a family member that you have to engage with to talk about their drinking it’s awkward right it’s uncomfortable we’re taught to not talk about this you don’t talk about money religion or don’t talk about anyone’s you know drinking or alcohol use right so i think we fall back on this when in fact what we should be doing is engaging with people we care about so we intervene at those earlier stages or levels you know there’s a level one through three um when it comes to substance use disorder and that’s in the dsm five sort of the the big book on on mental health and we usually wait until that level three that stage four cancer that level three of severity for addiction which means it’s gotten worse it’s done not just more damage to your body but it’s fun to provide more damage to your your life to your job to your loved ones your personal relationships and so when we start to build the skills as a community to intervene with people sooner i think that is the best case scenario right we put out this guide this year called navigating addiction and treatment a guide for families and we even put in a whole chapter on a four-step process to have the awkward conversation and talk to someone you care about about their drinking and drug use which i think is is really important i can tell from experience there’s times that i probably should have intervened sooner um throughout my life with the people that i’ve loved who struggled with this illness um i think i’ve gotten better over time but even for me so many years later it is it’s it’s awkward and uncomfortable and when you sort of rely on oh they’ll get this they’ll have that moment when they hit their bottom their rock bottom and they’ll come to on their own too often that’s death too often that’s such severe consequences to that individual and it doesn’t have to wait for something so severe in essence we can lift the bottom by doing a better job of taking care of those that we love and saying something when we’re worried right so just for my own interest i know there’s some debate over whether if you’ve seen the show intervention they have the show intervention that was on i think a e for a while that did these sort of interventions where they set a family member down and said if you don’t get help now we’re gonna i hate to say it this way but like turn our backs on you and abandon you and that sort of thing and at least from what i understand that model isn’t quite as popular now we don’t really do that so much but what are some other steps we can take in your opinion that would be like early intervention steps to sort of encourage or push someone that isn’t maybe saying they’re ready to stop or they say i don’t really know if i want to stop you know what are some things we can do to to sort of encourage them or push them that way no i don’t think that ultimatums are the way to go nor should you bring a camera crew and make it into something sort of dramatic or you know traumatizing for the individual it’s a little embarrassing and there’s still way too much stigma around addiction so that’s not what we would recommend i think it’s anything from what you feel comfortable with it’s a conversation it’s making sure you are working from a place of love and care like you know hey i really care about you and i’m i’m a little concerned about your drinking for example last night when i felt like you got you know really out of control and you’re really sick this morning i really like to talk to you about next steps and maybe getting an assessment i think if you plan your conversation if you are prepared and come from that place of love and if they’re not ready then they’re not ready sometimes it takes five six seven conversations if you don’t want to talk to the person write a letter send an email they’re not ready then come back to it and if there are other people in their life that are sending similar messages you don’t know what the constellation of nudges is right it’s more of a nudge than a push right and so they know when they are at that point that they’re looking to seek support or ask for help they know who to come to because you put it out there that you’re worried about them and you want to help them with the next steps yeah and i know your organization does a lot of work with families not just families that have lost people but also families trying to get their kids or loved ones into treatment what are some of the i guess the biggest challenges for parents navigating that line of i hate to use the word tough love but you know you don’t want to enable your child to continue to use but you also don’t want to just throw them out on the street like is there any good information or advice for those parents in your experience what could help them sort of navigate that area we wrote a whole chapter on this and navigating addiction because i’m so annoyed that for some reason this term enabling or enabler has somehow like attached itself to our illness but that’s just not how it works we can either help people or enable them for lots of different things right if you love someone who’s struggling with gambling do you suggest that you go to a casino when you want to hang out the next time no that’s sort of enabling um not a very sort of supportive plan for their gambling struggles if you know someone who is diabetic or struggling with heart disease or has had major heart surgery are you suggesting that you you know meet up for a really unhealthy meal or are you suggesting that hey we should go for a walk together if we’re going to connect i think that there are ways for us to look at this as other health conditions and are we being helpful or are we enabling behaviors and traditions or habits that are unhealthy for your loved one and this is this is a struggle for families parents in particular even siblings and others in a family system when you have to really break down your own relationship and your own decisions are you providing money are you letting them use around you when you’re uncomfortable and worried about their their health and so when you start to break that down set out really clear healthy boundaries um but let them know that you care for them and you want to work with them should they be ready or if they’re seeking treatment being supportive of that um but it’s really about healthy boundaries setting and really analyzing your own behavior and whether or not you’re being a helper or an enabler with that disease yeah and i’ve i’ve worried about that i have teenage children right now and of course it’s always that fear of you know obviously the genetics what we know about genetics getting passed on and jason’s got teenage kids as well and and you sort of in our heads i’ll talk with my wife about like what would we do if our kids started using and then got to a point where they were really struggling and there isn’t an easy answer even being involved in recovery for as long as we’ve been i’ve been in recovery 20 years uh jason’s been 17 my wife’s been 31 i think and you still don’t have the answers as to what you do with your child or a loved one when they’re struggling but i do know for myself like i look at my experience with my parents like they were not addicts so you know i was raised in like a loving household with two parents that cared and they never threw me out or turned their back on me they always tried to help me get into treatment they helped me when i wanted help and i attribute that a lot to being one of the things that you know when i was finally ready when i finally did what i needed to do like i found that to be really beneficial that i had these parents that i felt loved and supported me and would be there for me through that so i do think it’s important as parents that we don’t turn our back on our kids you know when they’re struggling or give them these ultimatums i think that’s quite dangerous it is i think one of the challenges for what you just said and i thought it was beautiful the way you laid it out but what you know my belief is and what i think we sort of know somewhat is that many of these people that are using are coming from places that aren’t healthy to begin with like that has a lot to do with why they’re using already is the trauma in the households we talked about aces a couple of episodes ago the adverse childhood experiences and so to send these people back into those same places and talk about well is your your family or your loved ones enabling you that might be the only bond they had with you and they might not be able to change and so coming from a place where yeah hey you got two healthy parents that are deciding their best whether to you know what behaviors are enabling that’s great information but coming from a place where your parents were your trauma or maybe you used with them and your brothers and sisters and that’s the only relationship you have they’re not going to encourage you hey let’s hang out and have a healthy diet today like the only way they’re gonna you’re gonna see them is to use with them yeah that is very true and there’s lots of dysfunction that we can find in homes that struggle with addiction i mean this is the same for even my parents this is intergenerational substance abuse disorder my grandma’s from an indian reservation in michigan and i don’t think we can count the generations of addiction that we’ve dealt with and then she had the same issues at home and in a way sort of drug and alcohol use starting really young was her escape and a coping mechanism for abuse in the home and alcoholism and a lot of dysfunction so it becomes really heartbreaking when we can repeat the same things that created so much heartache for us in our own homes and it is really hard to to break those patterns that exist for some individuals where your house your parents are part of the trauma it’s also really difficult to make decisions that limit your access to them if it’s unhealthy for you that’s when a lot of counseling is is important and i think we need to acknowledge that building that supportive network when the family can’t be involved in that that’s really hard for our patients when that’s what’s ahead of them and we need to offer them extra levels of support absolutely and a book is called navigating addiction navigating addiction and treatment it’s on our website and soon on amazon kindle which is kind of exciting awesome is it going to come to audible i love i love listening i’ll check on it i’ll check on it yeah this is sort of a labor of love for me because when addiction like hits your family or you you’re worried about someone there’s this like crisis moment where you’re like you want if someone reaches out and they’re ready and you want to help them right now but it’s really difficult to navigate this disease it was 2 000 so 20 years ago my dad reached out and wanted help um and he struggled with heroin and crack cocaine he lived in was homeless on the streets of los angeles and like every year i would like strike out to find them and feed them and clothe them for a day and you know have sort of like little conversations about you know if you ever want to get healthy or if i can ever help you if you you know want to go into treatment and you want something new i’m here dad um you can always call me and it was sort of this like annual pilgrimage that i would make to try to to find him and make sure he was okay and offer help it was hard to keep in touch with him in the interim and then in 2000 i got that call i remember like every moment of getting that phone call from him and he called me justin marie justin murray i’m ready it’s time and it was like my like my whole life i’ve been waiting to receive that call and then it was so hard to find a place that would take him to find what was good treatments i was far away i mean i kind of worked i think i was actually you know working um with the white house drug czar’s office and at the time so i’m i’m sitting here sort of involved professionally in this and i get this call i’ve been waiting for and i no idea what to do you don’t understand the terms and all the abbreviations you don’t know what treatment works best for what people you don’t know what good treatment is versus bad everyone’s you know trying to get me to sign a check or take out a loan or ask if i own my home right so there’s so many bad actors and i just remember feeling so overwhelmed and lost and scared because there was this opportunity and i wanted to help him and it felt like you didn’t have a lot of time because you don’t you don’t know how long how big that window is and unfortunately he died a few months later he’d been living on the streets for a long time and had lots of complications because of his addiction but it struck me and stayed with me that we should change what that experience is because that’s not what families feel when they’re looking for ways to treat diabetes or cancer so why should we deserve any less so is that your goal with getting addiction more recognized as a medical issue or disease the disease model because billy had mentioned this this morning and i was like well we kind of already do recognize it in the disease model that’s why we treat it it’s in like you said the dsm-5 so i was kind of a little lost on the goal but then when you were describing it it sounded more like you wanted it to become more incorporated in the medical field because the treatment entity is so separate and so not regulated which is a huge issue so is that like kind of your purpose of of even furthering the disease model that you want more regulation and treatment and you don’t want people saying hey come here and pet dogs out back three times a day and our you know success rate is seven out of eight people never get high again like you want actual evidence-based treatment and more functionality and it’s only going to cost you thirty thousand dollars a day or it’s gonna cost you exactly how much i can get a loan for you to pay over to me all right all right right whatever i’ve been there i mean i i don’t think we have a singular purpose in that realm i think we want better treatment we want better prevention we want better recovery support we want better support for families we want to prevent this illness and survive it we want to have fewer casualties and fewer families that go through this and you’re right evidence-based treatment for anyone who needs it is one of the most important things we can do right along with preventing this illness from beginning in the first place right so we do we you know continue to do a lot on prevention because even when you were talking earlier about you both having teenagers i have three teenage sons and so making sure we prevent the onset of this illness and protect against it is equally important to us episode has been brought to you by voices of hope inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www dot voices cecil and consider donating to our calls i gotta be honest if you want prevention i don’t know if going to the medical field is the route to go yeah only because they seem to do more band-aid work than prevention of anything so preventing substance use disorders is really about building your protective factors and you know understanding what risk factors we do a lot of work on aces as well average childhood experiences and sort of balancing that with risk and protection we have a project that’s coming out this wednesday actually on teen prevention strategies and some tools and information for both parents and teachers so for me at home preventing i i know that i have likely passed on a genetic predisposition to addiction to my children i don’t actually know how many generations i have behind me but my parents and my grandparents and great-grandparents at a minimum have all struggled with the substance use disorder so about half of individuals who have a substance use disorder today have a have that genetic predisposition the hereditary parts so i think we can be smarter we can be honest my kids know that they have a risk that they’ve inherited from my side of the family so they know that they have to protect themselves a little bit more than maybe a peer i really focus on age of onset that the age at which you start using alcohol or drugs is a huge risk factor for developing addictions so me as a parent pushing that back as far as i possibly can will give my kids a protection that is really important particularly because of the genetic predisposition piece and then we have some things coming out in the it’s called the opioid prevention campaign but it’s not just about opioids it’s just people only talk about opioids but in reality they should be talking about alcohol marijuana and tobacco but we can use that to get people’s attention and then give them real information but even in our house i have very clear expectations about alcohol and drug use and i don’t really care if their friends are doing it because my kids should know that their risk level is different we also practice refusal skills so there is like literally role play and back and forth discussions about how they respond to risky situations and offers of alcohol and drugs which i know are coming at them because it’s just the society that we live in and it’s just so prevalent and you know think about it even for us as adults when you’re like you know not prepared for a question that comes at you we can default to yes so maybe when i was asked to be pta president instead of defaulting to yes probably should have thought that through on time commitment if i could really handle this but you we just had this like people pleasing yes reflex that was at the end of the world no a little time consuming and maybe not the best choice in terms of you know me having extra time but when it’s an offer of alcohol or drugs the stakes are higher so making sure your kids know that it’s coming so if they’re going someplace and socializing even in the car we’re going to do a refresher i get eye rolls all right they think i’m very embarrassing and annoying because that’s my job to be embarrassing and annoying but i remind them that these questions or prompts may come and i want them to be prepared you know there’s like categories of refusal skills there’s like a whole there’s science behind this but we don’t ever tell parents that right so you have like the declarative it’s just like no i don’t do that crap right which is my oldest child he’s a declarative statement guy my middle is an excuse guy i don’t know my mom is so nuts about that stuff she drug tests me ugh i don’t really test him but he’s an excuse giver or no i have a huge game coming i can’t do that no i got in trouble last weekend for partying too hard no he didn’t but it gives him an excuse he saves space i don’t know about my youngest yet he’s just 12. we’ll see which category um he’s then you can also like turn the tables but there’s real strategies out there for us to help our kids prepare for those situations and they might come right that my kids are likely going to drink alcohol at some point in their lives but the closer i can push that back to when their brains are more matured and less likely to sort of dig in and develop an addiction the better for them where did you find that information on how to identify each of their different like the excuse giving and and that like is that just something you’ve learned through your career of counseling or is that information you can find somewhere for as a parent yeah we’re putting out a two-pager and a video on practicing refusal skills with your kids so i’ll email it to you and it’ll be on our website um as of wednesday morning um the science comes from the national institute on drug abuse at the nih as well as several universities who’ve done amazing work here stanford’s done great work harvard um there’s all of these free you know prevention scientists and the problem is it’s that same bridge i spoke about we have this great science on prevention you have all of us parents of teenagers over here who are worried and we need to build the bridge for folks to understand and that information to be translated so we can use it better and that’s what we you know like to do we have a research team and a translation team that looks for the best and latest science and make sure that it’s understandable to the rest of us yeah that’s one of those things that’s i think a not so direct consequence of the stigma it’s like as a parent you almost have to take on this attitude of like oh my kid could never become an addict you know i’m a i’m a better parent than that they’re better kids than that that sort of thing and so indirectly we don’t educate ourselves or do the research i mean that information to me should be public information available in high schools to parents you know but at least we’re in a rural county and it seems like even at the high school or middle school level which is probably really where we should be addressing kids is at the middle school level there is a resistance to even talk about addiction possibilities with kids at that point it’s just say no and we don’t do that and that’s that drugs are bad yeah drugs are bad and we don’t do that and i think you know until we can kind of overcome that stigma and say yes quote unquote bad kids get into drugs but just as many good kids i mean i was a a student i had scholarships to schools and played sports and all those things and yet at 17 i was still you know really gone down a rabbit hole of addiction you know and i didn’t fit this stereotypical you know what you think an addict should be so when it was time for me to go to my parents for help you know they just pretty much called the insurance company and sent me to some high dollar treatment which i was grateful for it was great it was like a summer camp but uh you know i don’t know they spent a lot of money and i don’t know that i walked away from there a whole lot better i think overcoming some of that stigma that you know addiction happens to everyone like it’s it’s it doesn’t discriminate it’s it’s a thing that everyone’s vulnerable to in some way yeah i i totally agree with you i think that we have this sort of knee jerk oh i don’t have to worry about that my kid’s good well that doesn’t mean that just because you’re good you don’t ever have to worry about diabetes or cancer heart disease skin cancer i mean the list goes on we protect our children from health conditions in a variety of ways and this should be no different and i think that the you’re right the stigma is probably at the at the root of that and i think there’s also a little bit of denial in terms of some of our strategies and habits as a culture right because kids do not for the most part experiment and initiate use with heroin or fentanyl or methamphetamines they’re starting with alcohol tobacco and marijuana and alcohol is also pervasive even maybe in the home and not realizing how that can negatively impact your child if they begin using alcohol too early is something i also don’t think we’ve taught parents adequately imagine if the heroin companies had done what the alcohol companies did and put out a study that just a little bit of heroin every day is good for you just one glass of heroin it’s incredible yeah i know right right so with the prevention idea which is great that there are some protective factors because often we look at addiction as something that needs to be treated after it’s there we really don’t talk very much about the prevention i’m curious of what your hopeful goal and what your realistic goal is because to me the prevention is probably not going to be something you get from your doctor that’s going to be something that you know i guess there’s the alternatives you can give it to parents who are interested in helping prevent it for their kids or you could possibly put it in schools i just don’t see that being realistic there’s so much pushback so what is your what is your hopeful goal with the prevention information and what is your realistic goal like how do you plan to use this to actually assist the population you know i think i think it’s a great way to break it down between hopeful and realistic like as an example we put out this i thought really cool video and all the science-based information on you know vaping and preventing vaping and intervening early if someone is is vaping nicotine or marijuana and i thought we’ll just give it away for free and every school in america is going to use it because this is a big issue that’s not exactly how it went right um so i think we need to be pragmatic about how we get prevention information out we’re focusing on parents now and i also think we need to focus on parents of younger children you know when you’re we don’t hear this from your pediatrician or at school or from whatever you know parent network you’re a part of when you have a middle schooler or an elementary age child which is probably the appropriate time to start initiating this and not expecting to catch a bunch of parents who all have you know 16 and 17 year olds i think we need to move much earlier into the continuum to teach parents that this is something you can protect against and you should i would love it and that sort of ideal my hope is that there are prevention messages and moments that come from not just the parent but from the schools and teachers from the pediatrician and healthcare from other caring adults whether it’s your coach or your 4-h club leader or whatever this is if you work with adolescents and young adults teenagers to understand that we can protect against this disease and sometimes very very small moments of setting expectations can make all the difference super interesting i i wonder almost if we need i mean i just look at it and it’d be great to educate parents but a lot of times parents are not where and especially in the teenage years getting their information it’d be great to have this information in schools but again kids really don’t want information from their teachers they dislike school by that point in life so i’m like do we need tick tock and youtube influencers that combat the other messages like i mean i can tell you right now my daughters want these little hexagon mirrors and different colored lights and these pink collage things for their walls and all this came from people online who are it’s like the newest trend it’s what they’re all doing so maybe if we were i know they’d probably never be as popular as the people who are doing that but if we could get younger voices that are actually talking about this kind of stuff and influencing people too like teenagers aren’t going to tune into our podcast not we’re old white dudes right like it’s just not going to happen but do we need that younger role model that younger hip person to to kind of get this information out there yeah i think the more messengers we have in the space the better you know our we’re working on another video right now and it’s called age matters and the whole purpose whether it’s the teenager themselves or medical schooler or the parent or the tick-tock influencer just to explain to the world why age of first use matters because we have not done a good job we know that this is like literally the biggest risk factor for individuals and yet no one knows anything about it so we have a cartoon and animation which is probably going to be very dorky and not cool for my own teenagers or yours right that might might work for us the you know sort of middle-aged parents but if influencers if celebrities if musicians if others you know could team up and help us reinforce these messages it would be better for all of our kids yeah i’m sure you see sometimes like this information comes out and when you’re a person that’s passionate or interested in it it seems so game-changing or life-changing it’s like all the stuff on aces and and learning about all that and saying wow this is such great useful information and then it just feels like nobody really cares other than the people that are trying to do the work which isn’t getting it out there fast enough billy i don’t know if you feel this way too but i i’m actually and i always like to think i know so much about this topic but the age of first use thing is almost blowing my mind a little bit because i hear so many times and i know anecdotal evidence is not scientific research nor does it you know alleviate or combat its relevance whatsoever but many times i’ve heard people talk about not using into their 20s later 20s even 30s at times and so i i just i’ve heard that so many times and now i’m looking at it and i’m like well did they mean they didn’t use harder drugs until then and they like drank at nine or something like maybe there was more to it than i heard but that’s just really interesting i didn’t even know that the age of first use was so relevant for how overtaking of the brain it does do you know anything about that no other than yeah watching some videos recently when you start using alcohol or drugs and even including nicotine before the age of 18 you have a one in four chance of developing a substance use disorder wow when you push back the use of all of that it’s not just heart hard drugs it’s all of that or intermittency not as frequent use but the the longer you push that back if you start using after the age of 18 you have a one in 25 chance of developing a status use disorder you go from one and four to one 25 that’s incredible yeah that is incredible and you know what now that you’ve said that it almost sounds really familiar that i’ve heard that statistic and i i had a debate for it which was a debate we don’t really know the answer for but it’s are we really preventing more people from using by doing that or is it the other way around that people that do hold off that long in their life weren’t really destined to need that coping addiction in the first place you know what i mean like people who were in dire need of a coping mechanism and trauma related experiences led them to something they needed that earlier and that’s why they are the one in four that did it before they were 18. there’s no argument for that i just i remember hearing that and wondering i i would be the counter argument to that right so i was homeless and then in foster care system and then raised by my maternal grandparents who still had addiction in the home but it just was a slower burn than my parents and being out on the streets so it was tricky right all of these these situations were tricky so definitely needed coping mechanisms i definitely had trauma i have a fairly large aces score um and it’s one that you don’t want a larger score on that’s for for sure you won though yeah the week we did the aces we took the tests online him and i both so yeah was it good good yeah mine’s not good either but i think i turned out okay and i have generations of substance abuse disorder before me but the biggest protective factor that i added on my seesaw like if you look at sort of risk and protection as like a seesaw i had a lot of risk factors that sort of made it sort of go to that side as did my mom and i said my grandma and i did my great-grandma and you know all these generations before but the biggest protective factor that i plopped on that to help counterbalance it is i did not use anything including alcohol until the age of 21. now the beauty of that is that not only did i protect my brain and when you see the brain scans comparing like ages guys it’s amazing a 14 year old brain is like this like when you do that the pet scan of it it’s like vibrant it’s like like looking at like modern art it has like orange and yellow and green and there’s a little bit of blue but it’s it’s this rainbow of all this fast developing plastic and amazing growth and you can learn things more quickly then but you can also be hurt more quickly and then you do a brain scan with the three of us and it’s blue it’s just boring blue there’s none of those colors there’s none of this sort of rapid growth pieces and and that stage of the brain development is really what makes that alice and brain so vulnerable so i had all these you know risk factors i didn’t you know use alcohol my 21st birthday and my grandmother was the one who reinforced that she told me when i was really young that alcohol was no different from the drugs that were killing my parents and that made an impression so i sort of set it out i wasn’t going to to drink a drop of alcohol until i was legally of age and it wasn’t just that i protected my brain in that growth period it was i had to make it till 21 years old through all of high school which is not always fun and all of college which is not always fun either and stressful i had to do all of that building coping skills that had nothing to do with alcoholic drugs right so it’s not just brain protection it forces you in a different way to build a different toolbox of coping skills and when you have alcohol and drugs in that tool box you will use them because they work and it’s efficient right not as well in the long term but it feels like it works in that moment um and particularly if you have a lot of trauma a lot of aces a lot of difficulty at home when you use those more and you have that trauma or genetic that makes it sort of fast burning and development and addiction even quicker so i protected my brain but i also built health and coping mechanisms to this day i i’m careful about alcohol use because though my brain is boring and blue i still think i need to be mindful of that just because of my family history and a lot of us that have families that have struggled with addiction feel the same but the other thing is it’s not my go-to when i need to cope i want to go talk to my counselor right i’ve i believe in mental health therapy and it’s so important particularly when you’ve gone through trauma but i want to talk to my friend i want to go for a walk you go exercise when you delay that onset um it has the additive effect of helping you to build healthier coping skills and while i would sit here with intellectual people and debate the chicken or egg of that research i would take that research and say hey i’m going to make sure my kids don’t use till after 18 because it sounds better it’s the best information i got right now honestly yeah i wouldn’t argue with it in practice whatsoever yeah for sure so on the treatment side of things what right now in in your work do you feel like is the the biggest barriers to getting people into treatment like and i know it’s kind of hard to answer on a national level so i’ll kind of set it up like in our area we’re a fairly rural area i think we have one state insurance sponsored rehab that covers like half the state of maryland seemed to be like 15 20 years ago if you wanted to get like immediate access to treatment your best option would be to go to the local hospital tell them you were mentally going to kill yourself or something like that where they would check you in and then you could kind of get medically stabilized and get pushed on to treatment once you were kind of you know in the system so to speak currently that’s not what’s happening in our county i think currently if you go to the local hospital and you tell them that you’re struggling with a substance use unfortunately and this isn’t to bash our local hospital too much but they kind of push you back out the door with a list of treatment providers and they don’t seem to be connecting that bridge to treatment at the moment is that an area where we really need improvement it seems to have gotten worse rather than it’s gotten better yeah i think we need to improve how we access treatment there’s some states and counties who’ve done an amazing job in vermont they set up this like hub and spoke system where you come into a hub and then they basically design your treatment plan with all of these sort of interconnected systems and it’s not just medication assisted treatment or traditional treatment it’s also recovery support and you know i feel like we’ve also backslid a little bit and this kind of all you need is a medication and you should be done and cured and that’s not how this disease works it’s multi-dimensional we really like sort of the five dimensions sort of model you need to have that spiritual side you need to have purpose in your life you need to take care of the basics it’s really hard to get better if you don’t have a home and a job an income and a way to take care of yourself and take care of your kids you do need the clinical pieces but there’s so many things that you need and you know helping and building plans for the whole person is really critical and we need to do a better job of understanding that there’s no quick fix with this and this is a chronic health condition that needs to have maintenance and care over the long term i think in terms of how it works when we train families right and patients themselves on how to advocate for themselves and their family members which is why we’ve put out a whole project on this i think we can change the trajectory we can start the process sooner um we can make sure we build all those components that we need but i agree we need to do a much better job for any of your listeners we do have counselors that we employ that helps both patients and families figure out the the best locations for them to seek help in their own community you can call 833-301 health and uh our folks will assist you because we need to we don’t need to make this a less lonely process when people are trying to navigate a deadly disease yeah you mentioned that you were working with the drug czar and then didn’t know where to send individuals that were close to you when they needed treatment and i believe i i listened to one of the recent drug czars it might have been the one under president obama who stated that his son needed treatment and he didn’t know where to send him for treatment so for family members how do they go about finding a motor treatment that works and not you know run into somebody who says hey we’re gonna lick frogs in the basement four times a day and and your kid will definitely get better like how do they find actual treatments that are says there’s just no regulation so how do they know when they’re going somewhere what would you recommend so we put out a list of sort of 15 criteria for quality treatment just to help people navigate to make sure it’s the right treatment and i think you need to you need to learn you have to figure out what is residential versus iop versus an otp i remember when i was going through this and mind you and 20 years ago i was i was a younger woman and you know i didn’t really know how to do this i also had no money so all of these places that you know are so profit-oriented we’re not going to help me whatsoever but when when you have a different way of approaching this and you’re armed with information there’s nothing more powerful than a worried mom or dad right and if you give the right information into the hands of more families earlier um i think we can we can advocate and and demand changes on how we’re provided services and find resources for this illness that’s what my my long-term hope is in the interim you know there is a federal database it takes some sleuthing to go through what’s open and what is and what’s appropriate you also like you need to start with an assessment you need to find someplace that’s going to help you or your loved one figure out what you need that’s appropriate for you instead of you know diagnosing yourself just based on what’s on google and what you can afford or you know what looks really fancy this really needs to be an assessment because our treatment for opioid use disorder is very different from our treatment for stimulant use disorder versus alcohol use disorder and we need to make sure that health care providers and those that are trained are helping us to build those care plans instead of us just trying to figure it out on our own or figure out who will take us just out of a need and feeling desperate yeah john oliver did a really good segment about the status of treatment centers in america and one of the points he made was when you look up reviews or ratings for these treatment centers usually like the top three ratings or reviews at least as that’s as far as his you know research went was those websites were all owned by the treatment center itself and it’s like well that’s useless if you’re trying to find out more information it’s a good profitable machine but it doesn’t necessarily focus on patient outcomes which we need to change and you know the other thing is we have this idea that you need a bed that you have to go away someplace to get better and i don’t think that’s true i think there’s lots of ways to get the treatment and help that you need and sometimes building the resources and support where you live and having that built up will be so much healthier for you on the long run and let’s not forget that for everyone there is some type of mutual aid support group whether it’s a a or naa or heroin anonymous or smart recovery or celebrate recovery or dharma or refuge i there’s so many there’s like 30 different brands so whatever works for you there is a support group meeting nearby and it’s free and i really think um sort of a gift and a needed resource like a safety net for all of those that are struggling with this disease and we need to access that more and if you need layers of treatment and support in addition to that and maybe you decide not the support group meeting you decide on counseling instead but this needs to be a multi-layered approach there is not a quick fix for a substance use disorder you need to develop a care plan that supports you as a whole individual yeah that’s one of the interesting things jason and i have been exploring so we’re both from n a you know that’s kind of where we found recovery and part of this podcast and i think my education over the last couple years has been research into other modes of recovery you know when i first got clean it was like this is the only way it’s abstinence-based that’s all that works the rest of that’s [ __ ] you know and and whatever and now starting to really understand like it is really almost an individual like there’s not a one-size-fits-all to recovery each individual has their own needs and then even if i go to 12-step recovery maybe some counseling or some therapy is going to be in addition to that like i don’t need to be stuck in one form and that’s it or to think that that’s the only thing that works as we’ve had different people on from some different fellowships to talk about different modes of recovery i found it really beneficial for me you know as a person in the recovery community it’s like we almost join our own little teams and and sort of want to pooh-pooh the other the other teams like well we’re they’re really the best way and finding out that that’s not necessarily true you know it takes a little bit of ego deflation but i do like the idea of the hub and spoke idea that you talked about earlier i know as being involved with the community-based organization voices of hope here in cecil county it doesn’t seem like that was the approach of our local health department i don’t mean to bash them so in our area before you know we really had a community based organization doing this work you would go to the local health department and they would seem to push you off to the one state treatment center but the access to services was really limited it was like they were only open monday through friday from eight to five and then even then you had to hope that there was a counselor open or available or willing to talk to like you know say my parents or or a family that would come in looking for treatment and as you said sometimes that window of opportunity is really small you know a person’s gonna decide maybe it’s not monday through friday eight to five when they’re looking for treatment options that’s when everybody wants to get clean right or being told when you call the number that well you have to come in on monday morning well by monday morning i had changed my mind i didn’t want to go to treatment anymore i wanted to go to treatment friday night when i just got arrested not you know monday morning now that it had been three days and i was in withdrawal and what are some things we can do on a i guess a state level or a medical level to address some of those needs like how do we get 24 hour access to services so in maryland and in other states you have an opioid use disorder they’ve started induction of buprenorphine in the emergency room immediately which gives you sort of that immediate access point for medication assisted treatment i think we it’s not consistent right so we need to take these like amazing pilot sites and locations that are doing it right and we need to take it to scale right so we’re doing a great job at yale because the yale emergency room has been inducting this we’re doing a great job at a few hospitals in baltimore we’re doing a great job in this county or this city or the state but figuring out what those systems look like which should be immediate care when you need it it shouldn’t be fail first policies or prior authorization policies for payers it shouldn’t be uh oh great here’s your list come back at you know four days from now when you sort of miss that opportunity we need to to change the system to make sure it’s immediate and it’s evidence-based and it’s individualized to the person their severity level and their type of use disorder instead of this one-size-fits-all i think we can achieve that we’re making progress like i said in some places but we need to take it everywhere as a civilization i don’t think we do very well with taking what works well in one place and then taking it to other places i mean i’m just looking at chick-fil-a’s drive-through and for some reason mcdonald’s and burger king can’t make it work that way like chick-fil-a is super functional in their drive-through and yet mcdonald’s and burger king can’t seem to pick up on whatever it is they do right and then take it to their own establishment so i don’t i just don’t think we do that well i agree well as a big chick-fil-a fan i have to say we should definitely advocate and demand for chick-fil-a level services instead of anything hodgepodge or less than that and i think we need to raise our voices and demand better care for all the people we love i had a question going back to the you’re talking about the age of first use we did our our most recent episode actually it happened to be on smartphone internet technology slash social media addiction uh kind of all the above and and how these devices and the notification systems and it all tends to rewire your brain from an early age and and really kind of get you caught up in the process is there any research or anything to your knowledge that can demonstrate that the fact that we’re going to have these devices in our hands much earlier in our life is almost going to set us up for kind of a similar situation with that age of first use like because that age of first user saying it’s programming that wild still growing brain and so i’m wondering if these smartphone addictions and having them in our hands earlier is actually going to make it worse it’s going to reprogram our brains from an even earlier age to be ready for that instantaneous instant gratification relief of stress or whatever it is we’re looking for yeah that’s a really good question i haven’t seen any data or studies that have come out on that yet but i mean if we know that it activates the dopamine process in your brain similar to using substances and can mess with the reward center which is what addiction does so it does make me worry and i think we should be looking into it and investigating and making sure we keep all these amazing adolescent brains as safe as we can i swear every week i’m always astonished to meet the amazing people and things that are being done to combat this disease and then i also leave the podcast thinking oh my god we’re all going to die

it’s hard to fight life i mean that’s what it seems like we have to do yeah i know i think we have to work to keep each other motivated because you don’t have to like think about this this isn’t like some new disease that just like plopped off isn’t like coronavirus or this is even sort of like the emergence of hiv aids and you know sort of the 80s and figuring out how to respond to it we have hundreds of years generations of misinformation and mythology around alcohol use disorder and addiction so in a way we have to like break down all of this ridiculousness and rebuild from scratch so we have our work cut out for us but we got a lot of us in this world in this space whether we wanted to be here or not we are a larger fraternity than um than people realized and i think if we figure out those points of light that work those areas of innovation and the things that are being done right and we replicate it and we demand and unite i i do think we can change this i’m almost 30 years doing this work i started as a teenager and um community organization out in southern california and here i am 44 years old and still doing this work and i still believe we can change it i still believe that we can re-engineer how we address this i think we can prevent it better i think we can treat it um far better and i think we can be more loving and supportive of those in recovery i think we can tackle stigma it’s going to take us a long time but i think we can do it we have more science now if we break it down and understand it better and keep creating a better crew i might be overly optimistic and some of them might wonder why at 30 years in i’m still so hopeful but i i believe we can do better and i will say i do think things are moving in the right direction it just feels painfully slow compared to the need but you know and watching it over time it feels like things are getting better at least again in our local rural community you know nowadays at least through what i see the working voices i don’t directly work with the clients but i am around the facility a lot and i see people come in and you know they come in and they want access to treatment and most of the time you know they’re able to get them a bed and get them there within a really really short amount of time and that’s traditionally not the way that i know it used to work in this county so it does feel like some work is making progress yeah yeah progress it is amazing when we look at these locations or programs that are doing great and we imagine that that can be broadened and more community is sort of responding this way then i think it’s a really big difference in a fundamental change on how we how we treat addiction i also believe that it’s us it’s us with lived experience that need to be you you all are part of the solution here you use your experience your lived experience to you know educate others to bring more people and out and talking about their experiences and advocating for change and supporting people they love i’m not in recovery but i love people in recovery my parents struggled with this so i try to use my experience to help others and we bind those together that’s where i think this could be really powerful one other area so you had mentioned your experience as a child growing up with addicts and things like that in our current treatment model if you want to call it that it seems like we really do just address the addict we don’t typically address families or specifically children what are some areas that you know of that we could improve in those i mean i always think specifically kids because they’re still malleable and we can hopefully break these cycles we see of addiction but what are some areas we could do to improve treatment for children of addicts so there’s some amazing programs that are out there that i are starting to sort of spread and have more data about them and see more replication one of my favorite ones is up in essex massachusetts started by the local da there they used asset for furniture funds to create a program in middle schools for kids with high aces scores largely because of substance use disorder at home opioid overdoses at home and it they have mental health therapy there after school they provide you know after school snack and dinner they brought in washers and dryers so you could have clean clothes to wear to school if that wasn’t something that you had access to at home they have art therapy and programs we work really closely with some of the staff there and i think their work is inspirational but we know who the kids are who are struggling we know who the kids are who are like me and home isn’t always a safe place and so they’re providing and building um the services and the other thing i love about this program who was started by the essex county district attorney jonathan blodgett is they don’t out the kids and say hey you got identified because of addiction in the home it’s called a leadership program so they let you keep your dignity but they give you the access to the services mental health and then you form those peer attachments like similar to what we see in in support groups but this is a support group in effect of kids who come from similar backgrounds and experiences who can support each other over the long haul of the kids that started this seven years ago they have had no criminal justice or juvenile justice involvement they’re starting to have their first kids go to college and be accepted so we’re seeing these long-term outcomes by having a relatively small dose of services and support for kids who have high aces scores similarly in kentucky they started a program that when a family is identified by child services instead of removal of the child immediately they begin a care plan for everyone in the household not just the parent with the substance use disorder it’s called the kentucky start program and both the parent goes into treatment has a visiting home nurse if that’s necessary has services and therapy for the children and it really is about providing treatment where you need it and you know we all love our kids and when you’re struggling with addiction to have the opportunity to use that as a lever to engage in treatment to keep custody of your children and have the whole family get better i think it’s a really beautiful program so there’s so many communities that are doing amazing things to deal with children impacted by parental addiction and if we learn from that and this should be something that is mandatory and necessary for every single county in america how did they miss out on calling that kentucky family care so they could have been kfc i missed opportunities never had some good branding yeah just piggyback on that uh name recognition right yeah so and this might be a kind of big question so you can generalize it as as much as you feel like you need to for your own time constraints but if they named jessica the drug czar for the federal government tomorrow like what would be your steps in in setting up like the ideal treatment system the ideal way to deal with the addiction epidemic we’re seeing right now um well just off the cuff i think that there should be a place in every community in every county but maybe even more than that depending on the size of a county to go to 24 hours a day seven days a week to get an assessment for yourself or a loved one with an immediate access to care that is individualized to that person and the care plan should not be 28 days this is not a 28 day illness though we watch movies that suggest that it is so it really is the first five years of treatment and recovery that’s critical so i think each care plan should be five years in length and there should be training for families and their whole support system so they know how to be a part of that and be a helpful part of that that treatment plan because there’s a lot of misinformation even among our families they don’t like mat or they don’t want to really do this or you have all these preconceived notions and we know that the patients who have their families helping and engaged in their care have better outcomes with their treatment outcomes so that’s what i would do i would invest the money i would make sure that you either get insurance or whatever coverage you need and that it’s appropriate to you it’s not something that it your google adwords placement means that’s how you find where you’re going to go is really about health care and its outcomes based so much of it is just a bunch of nonsense of like all these success stories and oh we have a 97.5 success rate well just because you put on your website doesn’t mean it’s true this is not what patients who deal with diabetes and cancer and heart disease expect they expect that there will be evidence-based care there will be consequences if they’re physicians and any system who is claiming to treat these illnesses if they don’t follow the best standards of care and that is not what happens here you have programs will charge all this money and they put a video in a vcr and walk out for two hours that is not evidence-based care for an illness that is life-threatening so better standards enforcement of standards a place for every person seeking help to go to um that is connected to health care and all of the systems that you need and and that spoke over a five-year period of time and beyond that that’s amazing just africa yeah just to tie into that a little bit addiction policy forum also has the connections app which that is sort of to keep people connected after they leave treatment or get out of treatment is that correct yeah or for folks who don’t go through traditional treatment so many more people don’t go through traditional treatment than we realize it really is our aaa network and n a network across america is is what treatment is and you know that outcomes of doing 90 meetings in 90 days are about the same as going into residential care really we don’t really tell people that do we because that’s free or maybe it’s 30 bucks if you’re going to put a dollar in the basket on your way out which is good manners but even if you don’t have that you have access to a a and n a and celebrate and smart and all of them the 90 and 90 framework is similar outcomes going into residential treatment so we do have access we just need to teach people how they can better use it yeah and that’s funny that’s i didn’t go to impatient treatment this time that i got clean i’ve been in and out of treatment a bunch of times i went inpatient two or three times and this time i just decided one day that i wanted to get clean and started going to meetings and that was it so it didn’t take inpatient treatment for me this time the science behind meetings it’s so interesting to me that we anyone who can be reluctant or critical of support groups you know just send them to me and i’ll i’ll educate i’ll educate them to my best but we know that as a species humans are social creatures right we we are social by nature so when you start to build friendships and linkages to other individuals who are sober in a or n a what you’re doing is enforcing attachment you now belong to a community that’s healthy it’s giving you identity that’s different from a using identity and pro-social engagement meaning that you’re socializing and creating these pro these social attachments to others that are important and we know from some of the science there’s some really awesome studies that have come out over the last couple years that when you start to map out your social structures and so those that are still engaging with friends that are still using or engaging friends or families that are using and don’t have these silver networks and and positive social structures they don’t do as well right so this is by science and design something so necessary for successful recovery and wellness and so we shouldn’t undermine it or miss the fact that this is like a clear like step one that people need to to do and they don’t realize and all these people have never experienced the disease or don’t sort of think through it can you imagine today if i couldn’t talk to any of my existing friends or family because this wasn’t necessarily a healthy thing for me rebuilding those networks is such a hard job that individuals do and aanna smart the whole support group system is so beautiful at achieving that and it’s a critical component of finding health and wellness one of the things that i think might be an issue with that at least in the current way that i see it and this could be totally my own view when i got to n a 80 of the meeting had six months or more and i was coming in and i fit into this environment like you were talking about of healthy people doing a different lifestyle and i felt really a part of and it it inspired me to want to be a part of that and yet i’m seeing this huge influx of recovery houses in certain neighborhoods and where it becomes that entire neighborhood all the meetings of the week are 75 percent or more people with six months or less and so really they’re becoming a part of the community but the community looks more like people who haven’t established themselves as in recovery and aren’t working steps and aren’t really participating in the program and like i think that’s one of the challenge to the 12-step programs at this current venture is what do we do with this huge influx of people that is skewing the community to less clean time less recovery and the communities a little less structured so when people even do like identify and compare in and become part of it they’re just becoming part of recently clean people that they were just hanging out with on the street a week ago interesting you know in a programmatic lens it’s sort of a how do you ensure fidelity because the model like having fidelity to the model or being true to the model means that you have access to individuals who have a lot of time in the program to mentor and engage those that are new or have less time so what are the effects of the programs when you change that equation um and is there any way that when you have a huge influx how do you solve for that i don’t know the answers to any of that but i think that we will continue to have an influx of more people because this is the backbone of recovery in america right we don’t have anything better right now i hope that we don’t build things to replace it but we build things that complement it and are more supportive and integrated into support group structures nationwide but in interim i think that we need to be as supportive as we can to these programs to figure out how they solve for this there’ll be more people and the fidelity to the the program design is probably going to continue to be a little tricky because of we don’t have anything else we need to know and we need to validate and honor the science behind it and the fact that it works and that it means that treatment and recovery services are available to really everyone and we shouldn’t discount that yeah and i think we’ve been seeing a little bit of that more and more of of how the 12-step recovery model there is really like you said some evidence-based or science-based principles behind why it works and things that it does i mean we always call it a progressive disease whereas i think on your website it described it as like degrees of severity and it’s it’s the same thing it’s just two different ways of talking about it so it’s interesting to see how the science sort of matches up with that recovery model yeah yeah it does get worse over time as most illnesses right right it’s hard to think of an illness that doesn’t get worse when you don’t read it or address it but again we have to break down all this silliness and misinformation that exists in our space that has been built up over time definitely great having you on and the website is addictionpolicy.org and then the book is navigating addiction and treatment a guide for families okay yeah and could i get that 800 number again the help line 833 301 help so yeah people check that out man it’s super valuable information i got a lot out of learning about this yeah i think there’s always more to be gained and more to be learned especially as jessica mentioned the prevention that’s the thing man the prevention let’s keep this from happening absolutely well thank you so much jessica yes thank you very much we appreciate your time nice to meet you love the good work

bye man so what a great conversation with jessica i think there’s just not enough resources for people who struggle with addiction there’s next to zero resources for families and all that just seems so important yeah and it’s nice to have someone with those political connections that’s fighting that part of the fight you know i mean i hate to say as smart as i think i am i don’t know how to navigate politics and actually changing policies and laws and you know those areas it’s nice to have someone in that arena that’s not just some politician on the hill but that has a vested interest in people’s health and well-being yeah absolutely so we got what i think is one of the biggest compliments we’ve gotten so far there was a thing on reddit and it was just like what podcast did you listen to that you no longer listen to and why and so people were putting all these podcasts and i just made a comment because i like to be silly i keep coming back on and checking for our podcast just so that i know somebody listens because they had to have listened to stop listening and so some guy was like hey if you put your link up here i’ll listen and i was like well you must be really bored sure here it is and he wrote back and said i’m not someone who is in recovery but i’ve been slowly listening i’m almost done with the recent episode on narcan i found it pretty informative and interesting and none of the hosts are boring which is nice i’ll keep listening ah and i was like wow i don’t know i felt really i felt really nice to my little tender heart that takes inspiration from that yes thank you very much so thank you to big goopy on reddit oh thank you big goofy i [ __ ] love reddit names and handles we will bid you adieu and see you again next week i think we’re talking about step 12 which is hey a whole year of steps we did it we did it all right yeah visit addictionpolicy.org check out their stuff tell people who need to hear it that where they can get the resources friends of addicts or alcoholics anybody who needs to know get this information out there and ways to help ways to help your kids ways to prevent this whatever it takes if you enjoyed this podcast please feel free to share it with people you think might benefit from the conversation look us up on facebook twitter and instagram to join the conversation also and share your ideas with us we’d love to hear it

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