When does it stop being a party and start becoming a problem? Is there a way to steer clear of addiction?

Every Wednesday, Mike McGowan explores substance use disorders with expert guests.


Turning Tragedy into Hope

February 28, 2024 30 minutes

When a loved one dies tragically, there are questions, so many questions. Brian and Cindy Hoeflinger’s oldest son Brian died after drinking and driving. Dr. Brian Hoeflinger talks about how he and his family coped with the tragic loss and how they have tried to turn the tragedy into hope. Dr. Hoeflinger is an Ohio-based neurosurgeon whose passion and profession is saving lives. Instead of asking why his son died, Dr. Hoeflinger asks us to consider instead why he lived. The Hoeflinger family, their work, and contact information can be found at  https://www.brianmatters.com.

Getting the Message Across

February 21, 2024 26 minutes

There are many ways to make a difference. Telling a story is perhaps the oldest and most effective way to get the message across. Glen Muse, an accomplished professional filmmaker and video producer/director whose experience includes contributions to productions for PBS, The Discovery Channel, ABC News, and The History Channel, discusses his work with Texas Pictures. Texas Pictures creates socially relevant, award-winning documentaries of substance about important topics in order to increase awareness and make a difference. Their work and Glen’s contact information can be found at https://www.texas-pictures.com/documentaries.html.

Somebody Who Believes in Me

February 14, 2024 30 minutes

Children who grow up surrounded by trauma are affected differently by their adverse circumstances. Why do some children make it successfully into adulthood while others succumb to substance misuse, homelessness, crime, and mental illness? Dr. Kathryn Daley discusses her work with traumatized youth and the power of developed resiliency. Dr. Daley is a Senior Lecturer in Youth Work and Youth Studies and Theme Leader, Homelessness and Housing Insecurity – Social Equity Research Centre for Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia. She is interested in good, just, and equitable policy and how it impacts those on the margins. Kathryn is an academic with a background as a practitioner. She researches issues to do with disadvantaged youth and is author of the book Youth and Substance Abuse (2017). Her work has examined issues of poverty, child abuse, homelessness, self-injury, and mental health. She and her work can be found at https://www.rmit.edu.au/contact/staff-contacts/academic-staff/d/daley-dr-kathryn

Don’t Punish the Pain

February 7, 2024 30 minutes

Anyone who has experienced chronic pain or has had a serious injury or surgery knows there is a role for pain-killing drugs. We’ve also all heard that those drugs can be dangerous when taken recreationally or incorrectly. Claudia Merandi discusses the important role opioids play in treating patient pain and the campaign to limit or eliminate those necessary drugs. Claudia Merandi is a former court reporter/owner of Merandi Court Reporting and is the founder and Executive Director of The Doctor Patient Forum and Don’t Punish Pain Rally Organization. She is a patient advocate. Claudia and her organization can be reached at https://www.thedoctorpatientforum.com

Resilient, Primed and Purposeful

January 31, 2024 35 minutes

Alcohol is such an integral part of our culture that deciding to stop drinking carries its own stigma…and benefits! Gabriella Flax talks about her decision to stop drinking and the physical and mental health benefits that being alcohol-free brought. Gabriela is a graduate of the University of St. Andrews and the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a stress reduction coach whose goal, as she says, is to “help burnt out people become resilient people.” Her contact information can be accessed at https://therppmethod.lpages.co/rpp-method-intake-form/ and her socials at https://www.tiktok.com/@gabriela_flax

We See You!

January 24, 2024 33 minutes

Men, young men in particular, make up the largest substance using demographic. Jim Scarpace talks about the baggage that comes with the cultural expectation of excessive use and how to break through the isolation that comes with the disease of Substance Use Disorders. Jim Scarpace is the Chief Clinical Officer at Gateway Foundation, one of the nation’s largest providers of behavioral health services for clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders. Jim has over 25 years in administration, operations, and the treatment of mental health, substance use disorders, and criminal justice programs. He is also an assistant professor of Clinical Psychology at Benedictine University. Gateway Foundation offers a full continuum of care across a wide range of clinical settings and can be contacted at their 24-hour hotline 855-925-GATE (4283) or at www.gatewayfoundation.org.

Collateral Damage

January 17, 2024 27 minutes

Have you ever loved someone with a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and felt completely alone? As a mother of a daughter with SUD, it’s a question Brandi Mac asks regularly. Brandi talks about what she has experienced and the changes she made in order to start meeting her daughter where she is while in active substance use. Brandi, her blog, her guide, Doing What You Can Live With, her social media, and her contact information can be accessed at https://bio.site/BrandiMac.

While You Were Out

January 10, 2024 29 minutes

What happens when mental illness intersects with substance abuse in a culture of silence? While You Were Out, a New York Times Editors Choice book by award-winning journalist Meg Kissinger, is a searing memoir of a family besieged by mental illness, as well as an incisive exploration of the systems that failed them and a testament to the love that sustained them. Meg is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and has won dozens of accolades, including two George Polk Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and two National Journalism Awards. Ms. Kissinger teaches investigative reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and was a visiting professor at DePauw University, her alma mater. Meg’s work and contact information can be accessed at https://www.megkissinger.com

No Choice At All

January 3, 2024 27 minutes

K.J. Aiello is a Canadian who describes herself as a mentally ill writer. It is, she says, who she is. Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) law, which first came into effect in 2016, is scheduled to be expanded in March of 2024 to give access to people whose sole medical condition is mental illness, which can include substance use disorders. K.J. discusses the implications of the proposed change and the obstacles to getting assessment and treatment for mental illness. To make end of life decisions just based on how insufferable mental illness can be without taking into account all the pieces of a very large, complicated life puzzle, K.J. says, doesn’t seem like a choice at all. Not everyone is served by the mental health and substance abuse system equally. K.J. is a Toronto-based mentally ill writer whose work includes essays, op-eds, and a soon to be released non-fiction book titled The Monster and the Mirror which explores the intersection of speculative fiction and mental illness. K.J. and her work can be accessed at https://www.kjaiello.ca

#1 Isn’t Always A Good Thing

December 27, 2023 30 minutes

When a culture submerged in alcohol consumption and sales comes out as a leader in excessive use among women and adolescents, it should surprise no one. Guida Brown talks about the latest studies showing Wisconsin among the nation’s leaders in alcohol consumption and excessive drinking and the mental health issues that correspond to that usage. Guida is a Community Relations Consultant with United States Drug Testing Laboratories. She also is an Adjunct Faculty member with Concordia University-Wisconsin and an accomplished writer. Her blog article “#1 Isn’t Always A Good Thing” can be read here: https://4csofaddiction.com/ and Guida can be reached at [email protected].