Journalist seeks to change narrative on addiction

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 8, 2021

Shawnee State event set for Friday, March 12

Though southern Ohio has turned the corner in the opioid epidemic, substance use and overdoses continue to challenge the health of our community. While health care workers, first responders, treatment providers and public health leaders work on the frontline, everyone in the community has a role to play — including thinking about how we talk about addiction.

Award-winning author and journalist Maia Szalavitz joins the Shawnee State Distinguished Lecture Series for a free live virtual event, “Changing the Narrative on Drug Addiction,” at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 12, in which she will discuss drug addiction, harm reduction, stigma and empathy. This event is open to the public. Those working in journalism and communications professions are especially encouraged to join.

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Szalavitz is an award-winning author and journalist who covers addiction and neuroscience. Her latest book, the New York Times bestseller, “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction” uses her own story of recovery from heroin and cocaine addiction to explore how reframing addiction as a learning disorder can transform prevention, treatment and policy. It was published by St. Martin’s Books in April 2016, with paperback forthcoming in 2017.

Her work speaks to people with addiction, their family members, policy makers, concerned community members, politicians, treatment providers, physicians, social service agencies affected by addiction, university communities, criminal justice officials and others who want to improve the way we prevent, treat and manage drug problems.

She spoke this year at Harvard Medical School’s widely respected annual conference on Treating the Addictions, keynoted the 2016 meeting of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, appeared on panels and as a speaker at multiple Drug Policy Alliance conferences and at the Harm Reduction Coalition conference.

Registration is encouraged by going to The event link will be at