Natural recovery and harm reduction for the “Really Gone”– Podcast Episode 38

Zach Rhoads By: Zach Rhoads
Reviewed By: Dr Stanton Peele

Posted on October 27th, 2020 - Last updated: September 18th, 2023
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.

Welcome to the LPP Podcast Episode 38!


Zach Rhoads and I return to “Sundays With Stories.” We have created this series to replace the disease narrative for addiction and drug use. It is our last gasp effort to reverse America’s cataclysmic descent into drug-death hell.

We select two more prominent non-12-step “recovery” stories — these with “addicts” who themselves were earmarked for hell — Lindsay Lohan and Robert Downey Jr. Lohan seemed doomed by her alcoholism (according not only to her father, but seemingly Oprah). She instead partnered in a group of beach clubs, made borscht and helped her mom and younger siblings.

Downey, who was really at the bottom of the well after years of turmoil, drug use, and coerced rehab, in his late thirties had a Jewish wedding which did the trick. (I met Mr. Levin, his father-in-law, in a hotel breakfast line.)

We do these stories in anticipation of a podcast Ethan Nadelmann has solicited my inputs for, in which he plans to interview famous drug users. Not hobnobbing with the famous, I instead use public material to describe famous people’s paths to recovery, starting with Drew Barrymore. (In future episodes Zach will interview regular people about their drug use.)

It so happens that this very week, DPA organized a prize panel webcast titled, “Effective Harm Reduction Responses to the Worsening Overdose Crisis  Caused by COVID-19.” DPA and HR advocates face the uncomfortable circumstance that drug deaths continue to spiral out of control (both before and after the pandemic) while opioid prescriptions are curtailed and MAT has been broadly deployed.

But they are nothing daunted in pursuing these paths to the end of time! Zach and I express our disagreements with their approach, as well as detailing what is actually required to address addiction.

I note particularly in the pod panel how distinguished moderator Maia Szalavitz uses the term “recovery” to mean abstinence, which contradicts the entire natural recovery and harm reduction vision.

Our views of drugs and addiction are far more immutable than are the actual impacts of drugs themselves. We must alter these views or continue our steady social and substance-use descent.


The audio version of the podcast is here


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