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The Addiction Inoculation

addiction inoculation

The Addiction Inoculation

The riskiest years for addiction begin when someone is as young as 10 and stretch straight through to the age of 24. After that a person is pretty much clear of the danger or sheer out of luck. But does it have to be that way? In The Addiction Inoculation (Harper), Jessica Lahey comes up with countermeasures to just about every situation that can befall a parent — and their child. She also provides a dose of prevention that’s worth at least a kilo of any so-called cure.

Then again, she would, wouldn’t she? With two decades of classroom action under her belt, plus two children of her very own, Lahey’s got more than enough firsthand experience to come down on the bright side of the equation. With recurring rotations on such esteemed pulpits as The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, The Washington Post and The New York Times, she’s more than a little vocal about it all too. No, if you want parent/child bona fides, you call Lahey. That’s obviously why she was enlisted to help develop the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ highly-considered The Stinky and Dirty Show (Brown Bag Films).

That’s Not All, Folks

Did we mention that Lahey also happened to write a bestseller? Well, she did. And said bestseller is primarily about child-rearing in the age of crazy. The age of crazy parents that is. At least that’s what the book seems to be about. It’s called The Gift of Failure (Harper). And it’s subtitled How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. That’s where we got the crazy parents angle. We suspect Lahey is alluding to the overparent. You know, helicopter parents and the like. We also suspect Lahey is adamantly against them all. Failure seems to be her bid to emancipate the kids. We’re not sure how many moms and dads actually freed their children as a result. But if press notices and sales figures are any indication, considerable swarms of offspring were at least given some serious elasticity.

The Addiction Inoculation, in contrast, is Lahey’s bid to get parents to step up rather than to step back. And to snap to attention. Oh, not boot camp drill sergeant attention, mind you. But a spine-straight attending to nonetheless. Why? Because when kids are at risk of dying, parents best pay strict and unmitigated attention.

And kids clearly are dying. Fatal adolescent overdoses were on the rise even before Covid upended the world; extreme and unforeseen isolation and despair are only adding more children to those tragic rolls. Lahey wants to curb those numbers. In fact, she wants to eliminate those numbers before they can even toll.

Pets and Prevention

In other words, prevention. Lots and lots of prevention. Open lines of communication. Transparency while doing so. Forgoing lies and scare tactics, secrets and shame. Fahey even suggests getting a pet.

Naturally, issues such as ADHD or PTSD may require more than a new Snoopy. On second thought, a new Snoopy might be just the thing. Something as serious as, say, epigenetics however, well… But Lahey’s equipped for whatever measures a situation deems necessary. Like The Gift of Failure, The Addiction Inoculation was written by someone who’s well-versed in both the science of persuasion and persuasive science, so you’ll find complete cogency wherever you turn.

Also like Failure, Addiction was written by someone with firsthand experience of the issue. And as before, it’s as firsthand as a slap. See Lahey happens to come from a family full of addicts and alcoholics. She also used to wallow in the same troughs. Not anymore though. Lahey’s sober. In fact, on June 7th she’ll be marking her eighth year.

That’s excellent news. It also makes Lahey most excellently suited to keenly tackle this issue. That’s probably — nay, obviously — why she did just that. Then again, she would, wouldn’t she?

Have You Gotten Your Addiction Inoculation?

Hard to think of a better time to release an inoculately-titled book than when the whole wild world is lining up to be inoculated. That’s not to say addiction is as lethal as Covid, but it is to say addiction is lethal. Damn lethal. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says “more than 70,000 Americans died from drug-involved overdose in 2019.” That may pale somewhat in comparison to Covid’s half-million (and counting), but it doesn’t mean the numbers aren’t alarming.

Those numbers are about to become even more alarming still. In fact, they already have. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the U.S. had over 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in May 2020. Not only was this “the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period,” but it only takes into consideration the first two months of the pandemic. We most decidedly are not looking forward to seeing subsequent figures.

We are however looking forward to seeing folks treating addiction with some of the very same seriousness with which they treat Covid. After all, one of the main reasons the Opioid Epidemic hasn’t earned Pandemic designation is that the large majority of its victims were and are situated the U.S. and Canada. Throw a few more countries into the mix and things could be quite different. (One of the main reasons fatalities have been concentrated in the U.S. and Canada is because other countries’ healthcare systems — especially European — are designed to thwart such outbreaks. But that’s another story.)

Semantics aside, addiction is a deadly, widespread disease that affects each and every segment of our society and until it’s completely considered as such the alarming number of deaths will continue to rise. (Breath.) If you care enough to inoculate yourself against a pandemic, surely you care enough to do likewise with an epidemic, no? Of course you do. Especially if you’re among the highest risked.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Kudos and Congratulations

Healing Properties congratulates Jessica Lahey on both The Addiction Inoculation and her soon-to-be eighth year of sobriety. And we’re wholeheartedly happy she’ll have such a fantastic way to celebrate the occasion. After all, is there any better way to celebrate sobriety than by unleashing a work designed explicitly to help those afflicted with addiction? Not in the Program anyway. It’s as if she took one of the Big Book’s biggest directives and made it even bigger! We also commend Lahey on her continued commitment to the cause. No, not sobriety (though of course there is that). And not parent and child relations either (though of course there is that too). But something above and beyond addiction and relations and every other consequent subcategory you can consider. We mean Humanity. And yes, we mean it with a capital H.

(Cover Image courtesy Jessica Lahey)

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