Wednesday, December 16, 2015


In life, whatever task you take on as a person you need fuel. Sometimes it is a burger, other times it may be water or a soda. But there are tasks we do that physical fuel doesn't provide the energy it takes to continue a particularly arduous task. There is fuel that energizes the spirit.

Below is the fuel that keeps me going to schools and cutting myself wide open to expose everything it takes to love an addict.

A teacher sent me this email:

On the final test. My last question was what was your favorite thing about the class? A certain speaker, video, project, unit, etc… and you my friend are mentioned in at least 25-35% specifically you. Then another 25-35% put just all the guest speakers. Fact of the matter is YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE IN A LOT OF THESE KIDS LIVES HERE AT EAST!!!!! Can’t thank you enough for the service you do.

Happy Holidays!!!

Jerrod Ryherd
Health Instructor
SM East Head Baseball Coach

If you are a teacher or administrator at a school or any community group and would like me to share my story contact me and we can talk. My e-mail is:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Paradigm Shift

Old joke when "paradigm" was THE word in business circles, when organizations wanted change there was always someone standing front and center shouting we need to shift our paradigm.

What's a paradigm? Twenty cents. (pair of dimes)

In reality a paradigm shift is when one thinks completely differently about an issue or subject that what has been expounded in the past.

I'm sure I am going to lose some readers and many may get angry but I am shifting my paradigm on addiction. Harm reduction has become a buzz phrase in today's recovery circles. When I was parenting an addict it was all about enabling and meetings. Today there are alternative methodologies. We no longer are a one size fits all group.

I am not advocating legalization of heroin or drugs. That is a step I cannot take or support. However, there needs to be some in between ground.

Borrowing from other countries I believe there should be Heroin Clinics in our country. It's about harm reduction. Annette wrote a very good piece about her experience being trained to administer Narcan. You should go to her blog and read Just For Today......

Too many of our children, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and friends are dying from this epidemic of heroin. This is about keeping them alive long enough that maybe one day they can enter recovery.

I have come to believe that Heroin Clinics should be opened across the nation. Not to make heroin legal but to make it as safe as it can be made. Make these places a "safe place." Clean and sterile with clean needles, alcohol swabs and instruction on shooting safely. Have someone on staff trained on administering Narcan. Have someone there that can help guide an addict to recovery when they ask. It's about harm reduction.

When my son nearly died from a staff infection from shooting up and after 14 days in the hospital when he was released my daughter, a registered nurse, taught him and explained why alcohol swabs are needed and used before any injection. After that he made alcohol swabs a part of his "kit".

When I wrote about that I got many comments from readers about enabling and some even trashed my daughter that she was violating the oath of her profession.

At the time I was concerned about keeping my son alive. I had developed a philosophy, right or wrong that every single day thousands of addicts leave the world of active drug use never to return to that world. One of my jobs was to help keep my son alive until his day arrived.

ps.: There is life after heroin. Let's give more people the chance to experience it as my son has and as many others have.