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.

No Choice At All

January 3, 2024 27 minutes


Mike McGowan


K.J. Aiello

Toronto-based mentally ill writer


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


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