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.


It’s More Than Fun and Games

October 11, 2023 26 minutes

When everything you have done is associated with substance use, how do you have a good time when no longer using? That’s the question Alex Peacock and Nolan Wright asked and why they formed Recess Games USA. The goal, their mission, is “To pair those in the community with people in recovery who are seeking healthy avenues to have good, clean fun while building a meaningful and purposeful life.” It is possible to have fun again. Alex, Nolan, and Recess Games USA can be contacted at https://www.recessgamesusa.com

What the Hemp?

October 4, 2023 28 minutes

As more and more states legalize marijuana and others have a variety of cannabinoid products available, it seems sensible to ask what they are, what they aren’t, and how they might affect young people. Annie von Neupert is Project Coordinator for REACH. REACH, a federal Drug Free Communities coalition, focuses on reducing misuse of alcohol, nicotine, and other substances by youth in Calumet County, Wisconsin. When a product is visible and accessible, young people tend to view it as safe to use. As always, it is important for families to have discussions with their children about all substance use. Annie and REACH can be contacted at https://www.cahlinc.org/about/reach

One Last Lap

September 27, 2023 33 minutes

A returning panel of women, now entering their senior year in college, discuss navigating their journey through college while also navigating academics, a pandemic, excessive alcohol and other drug use, relationships, and mental health issues. Grace, Aiden, Jackie, and Austyn talk about discovering who they are and where they want to go, made more challenging and complicated by issues around mental health, substance use, and maturity. Remember, every college has a student health center and access to counseling. If the assistance you receive is not adequate, please keep asking and looking. If you or a loved one needs help, it is available. You can find a directory of AA meetings here: https://www.aa.org/find-aa and NA meetings here: https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY 1-800-487-4889, is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

Recovery is More Than a Bumper Sticker

September 20, 2023 26 minutes

We’ve all seen the slogans, signs, and bumper stickers. “One Day at a Time,” “K.I.S.S.,” “I’m a Friend of Bill W.,” and dozens more. What do they mean to folks in recovery? Kathy Reiley, a retired attorney and a person with an alcohol use disorder, talks about the meaning of the recovery slogans so frequently seen. One of the keys to recovery is finding a community of like-minded people to connect with. As an attorney, Kathy wants the legal community to know confidential recovery resources are available through the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Helpline that can be reached at (800) 543-2625. You can also find a directory of AA meetings here: https://www.aa.org/find-aa and NA meetings here: https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/

New Horizons

September 13, 2023 32 minutes

Providing world-class, empowering, and transformative interdisciplinary care to women and their children affected by substance use disorders is the mission of the Horizons Program at the University of North Carolina Medical School. Dr. Hendrée Jones, Dr. Elisabeth Johnson, and Chrissy Jones, an alumni of the UNC Horizons Program, discuss the importance of providing substance abuse resources and programs geared towards women and children. Dr. Jones is a licensed psychologist and an internationally-recognized expert in the development and examination of both behavioral and pharmacologic treatments for pregnant women and their children in risky life situations. She consults for the United Nations and the World Health Organization and is a member of the National Institute of Health’s HEAL multidisciplinary working group and the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. Dr. Johnson is the Interim Division Director and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina’s Horizons Program. The Horizons Program at the UNC School of Medicine is a substance use disorder treatment program for pregnant and/or parenting women and their children, including those whose lives have been touched by abuse and violence. The guests and the program can be reached at https://www.med.unc.edu/obgyn/horizons/

Clean – There is Always Hope

September 6, 2023 34 minutes

Michael Rebellino is a civil engineer. And a writer. Michael’s stream of consciousness novel, Clean is the fictional story, inspired by true events, of Cameron, an independent, accomplished, and strong-willed young adult caught in the grips of alcoholism and drug addiction. Whoever you are and whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. And there is hope. There is always hope.

Michael’s information and his book can be accessed at https://www.michaelrebellino.com/

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

August 30, 2023 35 minutes

This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Or is it? Can drugs long labeled as problematic be used as therapeutic aids? Kevin Franciotti is a Denver-based writer and licensed addiction counselor trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy. He discusses an increasing amount of research indicating that some substances can be beneficial in the treatment of depression, opioid addiction, PTSD, and other brain disorders. Several states have passed laws, or are considering licensing and regulating naturally occurring psychedelic compounds, to be grown, bought, possessed, and used without legal complications. Kevin Franciotti can be contacted at https://www.kevinfranciotticounseling.com and for Psychedelics in Recovery go to https://www.psychedelicsinrecovery.org.

The Compassion Whirlpool

August 23, 2023 37 minutes

Where is the line between caring about someone else’s pain and caring so much that it affects your own well being? Lynn McLaughlin and Karen Iverson Riggers talk about how to manage empathy in our relationships, especially for those who work in the helping professions. Lynn and Karen are consultants, co-owners, and members of Ebb & Flow Connections Cooperative in Northeast Wisconsin. They can be reached at https://www.ebbandflowcooperative.com. Numerous studies have shown a high rate of compassion fatigue among teachers, social workers, therapists, and nurses, among others. Navigating the line between understanding other’s feelings and managing our own is crucial to our own mental health. Help is available if you are concerned about your mental health or that of a loved one. Nationally, you can start your search at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help.

The Addiction Inoculation

August 16, 2023 36 minutes

How can parents help their children navigate the minefield of growing up without making poor choices around substance use? Jessica Lahey is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Jessica discusses substance use disorder research and the dialogue needed between parents, teachers, and children to help young people make good choices. Until children’s brains fully develop, they are at greater risk for greater harm from substances. Jessica’s work and contact information can be accessed at https://www.jessicalahey.com

Turning Off the Fentanyl Spigot

August 9, 2023 30 minutes

We know where the drugs come from. We know how the drugs get here. We know how they are made and distributed world wide. Michael Brown explains how current and advancing technologies can aid in the disruption of the flow of fentanyl. Brown is the global director of counter-narcotics technology at Rigaku Analytical Devices. He has a distinguished career spanning more than 32 years as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As Mr. Brown explains, understanding the drug distribution chain is only the beginning. It takes pressure, cooperation, and political will to stop the flow. To book Michael Brown for engagements or for media requests, contact Evan Bloom, Fortress Strategic Communications, at [email protected]. More than 100,000 individuals lost their lives last year to synthetic opioid overdoses in the United States. If you want to know what you can do locally, get involved, support prevention activities, call or email legislators, ask your local school what they are doing to educate the students, and, most of all, talk to your children.