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Shatterproof holds Addiction as a Disease Panel

Shannon Barbin

The Shatterproof Student Association (SSA) recently held an Addiction as a Disease Panel on campus in the Joe Paul Theatre. The panel included addiction psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Richardson, licensed counselor with a specialization in addiction, Jan Moore, peer support specialist, Freddie Humphrey and psychologist and professor Dr. Michael Madson. Prior to the panel, students composed a list of questions to ask the panelists. Madson discussed with the guests why addiction should be viewed as a disease.
Shatterproof aims to defeat the stigma centered around addiction. The panel discussed several ways as to why addiction is classified as a disease rather than just a life choice. The panel focused heavily on addiction being a disease just like any other disease that we see and recognize. Another point that was made was that addiction should not be considered a moral failure but rather a disease that alters the dopamine within the brain.
“I’m hoping the students gain a sense of understanding about what addiction is,” said Samuel Lovitt, the vice president of SSA. “Addiction is not a moral failure as we’ve seen tonight. It’s a disease like any other, like we see diabetes or heart failure; things like that. So, it can be treated if it is a disease. That is what I’m hoping that students get from tonight. The alternative to the disease take is moral failure. Think about what that says to the person in addiction.”
Moore talked about her experience as a counselor at Clearview Recovery Center and how many of her clients felt an array of guilt and shame. She addressed that often when a client comes to her in her line of work, they are typically in a state of giving out. They are hopeless. She advocates that people with addictions are not their addictions but simply people with a disease.
“Shatterproof’s goal is to reduce the stigma around addiction, promote harm reduction and create an affirming, reaffirming environment for those who are struggling or in recovery,” said Sophie Denton, the president of SSA.
Humphrey, who also has past experience with addiction, shared a partial of his testimony.
“They ask what’s different this time?” Humphrey said. “This right here, what I am doing now. My drug use, even though it took me down to where I was. It was a small part of which was really going on. 85% is me. Why do I keep coming back to this? Why do I keep drinking this poison? I lanced myself and got rid of that crap that was holding me down.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Shatterproof Student Organization, email [email protected] or [email protected].

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