addiction

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine?

Jan 8, 2015

The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee just released new recommendations to limit added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories. Right now, Americans are eating more sugar than ever before — on average, about 160 pounds a year.

It's a tradition as old as New Year's: making resolutions. We will not smoke, or sojourn with the bucket of mint chocolate chip. In fact, we will resist sweets generally, including the bowl of M&M's that our co-worker has helpfully positioned on the aisle corner of his desk. There will be exercise, and the learning of a new language.

It is resolved.

So what does science know about translating our resolve into actual changes in behavior? The answer to this question brings us — strangely enough — to a story about heroin use in Vietnam.

KUOW/John Ryan photo

Eddy Mahon says the Aloha Inn saved his life.

Each day, thousands of people speed by the run-down old motel on Highway 99 just south of Seattle's Aurora Bridge. It's no longer a motel. Now it's a place where homeless people can stay for up to two years and get help while they try to get back on their feet; there's a long waiting list to get in. Mahon manages the Aloha.

He told his story to KUOW's John Ryan.

Ross Reynolds talks with Dennis Donovan, director of University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, about why it's so hard to determine what recovery strategies work best for overcoming addiction.

Flickr Photo/MDMA (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Howard Pellett, the facilitator of an Alcoholics Anonymous alternative called SMART Recovery. Pellett describes his own experience with alcoholism and SMART's approach to addiction recovery.

Murray Carpenter's book, "Caffeinated."

Ross Reynolds speaks with journalist Murray Carpenter about his book, “Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us."

The book takes a closer look at the common drug we take for granted on a daily basis.

The new film Hateship Loveship was adapted from an Alice Munro short story and stars Saturday Night Live alumna Kristen Wiig in a performance that's a far cry from her outrageous characters on the comedy show.

In it, Wiig plays Johanna, a caretaker in Iowa assigned to help a grandfather, played by Nick Nolte, look after his 14-year-old granddaughter, Sabitha. Sabitha's mother died in a car accident when Sabitha's father, Ken, played by Guy Pearce, was driving drunk and high.

Since its founding in the 1930s, Alcoholics Anonymous has become part of the fabric of American society. AA and the many 12-step groups it inspired have become the country's go-to solution for addiction in all of its forms. These recovery programs are mandated by drug courts, prescribed by doctors and widely praised by reformed addicts.

Quixote Village: More Than Just A Place To Sleep

Mar 5, 2014
KUOW Photo/Elizabeth Jenkins

This past Christmas Eve, 30 homeless adults found a permanent residence in Olympia, Wash.

Before the move, the group lived in tents, hosted by different churches in the area. Many of the people had been sleeping in the woods and just wanted a safe place to stay.

Now, Camp Quixote is known as Quixote Village and comprises tiny houses for homeless adults. At 144 square feet, the homes are about the size of a one-car garage.

Relationship Between Writers And Alcohol

Jan 31, 2014
Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Steve Scher talks with Nancy Pearl about two books that explores the relationship between writers and alcohol.

"The Trip To Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking" by Olivia Laing explores the role that alcohol played in the lives of six great American male writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver.

She also recommends an older book, "Drinking, A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp, which helps a reader understand addiction.

Flickr Photo/Crashworks

Marcie Sillman talks with Caleb Banta-Green, an addiction and drug expert from the University of Washington,  about heroin trends across Washington state.

Flickr Photo/Charles Williams

For thousands of service members who use opiates to manage chronic pain from war injuries, the road to dependence and addiction can be paved with compassion.

A facility outside Seattle, surrounded by pine trees, is a refuge for addicts — of technology.

There are chickens, a garden and a big treehouse with a zip line. A few guys kick a soccer ball around between therapy appointments in the cottage's grassy backyard.

The reSTART center was set up in 2009. It treats all sorts of technology addictions, but most of the young men who come through here — and they are all young men — have the biggest problem with video games.

The subculture of liquor enjoyment belies Pakistan's status as officially "dry". That is, the 96 percent of Pakistanis who, according to official figures are Muslim, are not supposed to drink.The penalty if they do so is 80 lashes but it is not strictly enforced. Although there are many harmless social gatherings, there is also a growing problem of addiction to the bottle.

Stories Of Sobriety

Apr 30, 2013
Flickr Photo/Joe Houghton

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that in the US over 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Not only that, a recent Columbia University study found that only 1 in 10 of these people actually seeks treatment for drug addiction. And most of the time, the treatment doesn’t work.

Ross Reynolds sits down with Dr. Jim Walsh, the medical director of Addiction Recovery Services at Swedish Medical Center’s Ballard campus to talk about what does work.

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