Matt Edwards grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where the winters are long, they call the mosquito the state bird, and his hometown was so small that it didn’t have a single store. His first high came from pills prescribed by a doctor for a botched toe surgery.
For ten years he sweat out shift after shift in restaurant kitchens, working twice as many hours as anyone else so he could pay rent and feed his addiction.
Matt was driven by a desperate need to get a fix – more often to avoid withdrawal than to get “high” in a recreational sense. To get what he needed he spun a web of fiction. He was a magnificent liar – smart, creative, persuasive – his lies fed his addiction as much as the actual drugs.
But Matt told the truth to himself in two spiral bound journals. He chronicled his daily drug use – sort of like the Bridget Jones of addiction but in cc’s, milligrams and dollars instead of pounds, drinks and cigarettes. His journals also tell the story of his countless attempts to quit.
Everyday there is another front page tragedy detailing another spectacular fall from grace. What is missing is real understanding of the complicated personal experience within addiction. How does a smart, loving, promising kid move from acting in the high school play to putting a needle in his arm? WRITTEN OFF reveals that journey, in Matt’s own words. Behind the addiction, there is a person – all at once lovable and despicable, funny and pathetic, young and old, destructive and aware of his failings.
Molly Hermann is a producer, director and writer whose documentary work spans genres, continents and centuries. Over the past 20 years, Molly has produced award-winning work for PBS, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian Network, Animal Planet, Discovery Science and BBC America. Her work has taken her from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to a Casablanca mosque, from red rock Utah canyons to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and searching for birds of paradise in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Molly received the CINE Awards Special Jury Prize for the Smithsonian Channel program “9/11: Stories in Fragments” and an Emmy nomination for “Jefferson’s Secret Bible,” both produced in collaboration with the National Museum of American History. Molly is a founding partner of the Falls Church, Virginia-based company, The Biscuit Factory, which has been producing factual programming for the past 9 years.
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Posted in Addiction, Benzodiazepine, Drugs, Opiates, Overdose, Recovery
“We are treating the symptom and not the disease, and the disease is prohibition.” — Patrick Heintz regarding the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA)
With experience in both corrections and substance abuse counseling, Patrick Heintz has worked with incarcerated populations for over 20 years. Beginning as a child care worker in a maximum security Department of Youth Services facility, he spent the majority of his career at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department as a counselor/corrections officer.
As a substance abuse counselor licensed by the State of Massachusetts working in a variety of corrections settings, he was witness to what he calls the “revolving door and intergenerational nature of the offender population”. Patrick explains, “Early on in my career, it became apparent that to a large extent, this revolving door phenomenon was a direct result of the prevailing laws associated with the war on drugs. It became a daily frustration that no matter how service-oriented and well intentioned treatment attempts were in a corrections setting, nonsensical drug laws such as mandatory minimum sentencing, school zone violations and other punitive consequences of drug arrests kept us from being optimally effective.”
As a human service worker in corrections, it was obvious to Patrick that substance abusing and addictive personality disorders were more mental health issues than a law and order problem. He experienced an avalanche of realizations upon first hearing a LEAP presentation where the speaker pointed out that after 40 years of being at war with drugs, the percentage of the population abusing drugs remains at approximately the same level as in 1971, when the war on drugs began. Patrick contends that “Sociologically there will always be deviations from the norm including substance abuse, but they cannot be legislated or enforced away.”
Posted in Addiction, Drug Enforcement, Drugs, Opiates, Police, Policy, Research, Trama, Treatment
Adam Lowery is a mental health counselor, trainer, speaker, podcaster, activist and coach whose passion is helping others change and optimize their lives. Through an abusive childhood, he focused on his dream to play college football. But at age twenty-two, injury ended his NFL dreams. Disheartened and angry, he chose a life of addiction and crime. He survived the world of drug dealing and quickly became successful in the nightclub business. But the success did not fill the void. He walked away from it all and went on walkabout for two years — traveling from the Florida Keys to the Acoma Native American Reservation in New Mexico Adam was on his Spiritual Rampage.
Adam returned home on a mission to help others and obtain a masters mental health counseling. Before even graduating he was hired as a clinical therapist in a public rehabilitation facility. Within three years Adam founded Transrational Structural Behavior Theory, authored The Cognitive Rampage, a dose of authentic revelation (as the application of TSBT), launched TCR podcast now in 110 countries and all 52 United States and will be releasing his first documentary in the Winter of 2016 “Chemical Incarceration, addicted to the process” detailing the dark side of the addiction treatment industry.
Posted in Addiction, Disease Model, Drugs, Opiates, Policy, Recovery, Research, Treatment
America continues to try and address the massive overdose epidemic occurring nationally by waging war against her own citizens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attempts to provide helpful guidelines through labeling and education, and it’s a thrilling time to be a drug treatment provider with maintenance therapies, replacement therapies, and conventional abstinence therapies all being available. Seth Fitzgerald from The Drug Classroom and drug treatment provider Glen Marshall explore the real cause of prescription drug overdose and how prohibition and adulteration continue to be fatal. I’m looking at you Fentanyl. Finally, we conclude with this gem from the Nixon administration and his favorite drug marijuana.
“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities, We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” — Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman
Cannabis Substitution: Marijuana Maintenance as Addiction Treatment
The Drug Classroom
Posted in Addiction, Benzodiazepine, Cannabis, Drugs, Heroin, Opiates, Overdose, Policy, Treatment
A common classification often used with medicinal and recreational drugs is “synthetic” versus “natural.” Despite the apparent face validity of “natural” drugs being less harmful, they are no less dangerous, and in some cases are more so, than their synthetic cousins. The individual using the substance, their set, setting, neurochemistry, along with the drug’s intrinsic properties must always be the prevailing determinants when evaluating a substance for ingestion. The Addictive Podcast deconstructs this common societal myth about what’s “best” to put in one’s body when it comes to drug type and origin.
Posted in Alcohol, Cannabis, Drugs, Hallucinogenics, Opiates, Policy, Salvia, Synthetic Cannabinoids
Ibogaine, the primary psychoactive ingredient in the Tabernanthe iboga plant, has increasingly been used as a detoxification treatment from opiates since the 1980s. Today, ibogaine is administered under compassionate access or experimental legal frameworks in hospitals, medical centers, retreats, and private therapeutic settings around the world.
Jonathan Dickinson is the Executive Director of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA). He has worked with ibogaine in therapeutic and sacramental contexts in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama, and has published and presented on his work globally. Jonathan functions as a liaison between academics, government officials, researchers, not-for-profits, and care providers in regard to ibogaine research and practice. During his tenure, Jonathan has organized two international conferences on ibogaine and in 2014, was initiated into Bwiti, a spiritual discipline and psychoactive practice involving iboga by the forest-dwelling peoples of Gabon.
Between March 14-16th, 2016 in Tepoztlan, Mexico, Jonathan and GITA will convene the 2016 Global Ibogaine Conference which includes experts from around the world to discuss ibogaine therapy, the climate of global drug policy, and the sustainability and traditional uses of T. iboga.
Posted in Addiction, Dissociatives, Drugs, Heroin, Opiates, Treatment, Withdrawl