In Philadelphia, the problem is vast.
As the editors of a Temple University journalism project committed to reporting on drug and alcohol addiction in Philadelphia, we’ve heard firsthand from a series of guest speakers and sources about the prominence of substance use disorder in and around this city. We’ve learned about the incredible lack of resources for individuals with addiction and the challenges they face in maintaining their recovery. We’ve spoken with parents who’ve lost their children to overdose and others who’ve battled the disease themselves.
But we’ve also learned about solutions. We’ve spoken to people with decades of sobriety, recovery advocates and policymakers. Many of them shared innovative ideas on how to combat this problem, which so many communities face today.
Some of the solutions we’ve investigated show great promise. They’re pretty different — they span from religious groups to clean needle exchanges to medication-assisted treatment — but they all have one thing in common: they’ve proven successful in helping many people sustain their recovery and live their lives free from addiction.
In this project, we explain to readers the problem of addiction in Philadelphia. We also highlight the solutions we’ve found through a full semester of reporting. By no means are these solutions silver bullets. We are well aware that each and every person experiences recovery differently. These programs will work for some people, and they won’t work for others. There are countless other programs available in Philadelphia and across the country that also work, and those are as valuable as the handful we’ve laid out in this project.
So we’ve learned that while this problem might seem ominous, there are change-makers in Philadelphia working hard to help individuals enter and maintain their recovery. We’ve learned that although they might be hidden, there are plenty of potential solutions in practice. We also suspect there will be many more to come.
As the editors of this project, we’ve learned so much about addiction and recovery this semester. We hope that as the readers of this project, you can learn something too.
Michaela Winberg, Executive Editor
Grace Shallow, Managing Editor