Author Archives: skassels


So here we are on the cusp of choosing another POTUS and what a relief it will be to finally have this election season behind us.  My only hope is that after whoever wins (and yes, I have my fingers crossed and crossed tightly for one candidate!) that we can finally get down to the issues that really matter. I would like to challenge the next POTUS to do what has been dreadfully lacking during the campaign season - to focus on the issues that directly affect the electorate's lives, that affect our communities, that are robbing our kids of their future, that is tearing apart families...need I go on!!! It is time to deal with the scourge that is taking so many lives.  It is time to further advance the War On Addiction.  This is not a War On Drugs.  Please POTUS, tell us more how you plan to destigmatize the disease of addiction, to decrease demand and your strategies to further build upon the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act .

Take a look at the links and excerpts below, which only serve to reinforce the lost opportunity by both candidates to fully address the heroin/opioid epidemic with passion, commitment and a plan that it deserves.

PBS-Frontline - February 2016:  How Would the Candidates Fix the Heroin Epidemic?

"In 2014 alone, more Americans died of a drug overdose than in any other year on record. Nearly half of those deaths – around 29,000 – involved some type of opioid — like heroin. The candidates all agree on the severity of the epidemic, but their proposals vary widely. Some say the answer is more of a focus on treatment, rather than incarceration. Others say the solution is to build a wall with Mexico."

Hilary Clinton:  “We should be saying enough is enough. It’s time we recognize as a nation that for too long, we have had a quiet epidemic on our hands. Plain and simple, drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, not a moral failing — and we must treat it as such.”

Donald Trump: “We are gonna try and help the young people and the old people and the middle-aged people and everybody that got addicted.”

The Week - September 2016:  America is Suffering from a Heroin Epidemic. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Don't Seem to Care.

"In May, police in Springfield, Massachusetts, seized 193 bags of heroin from two middle-aged dealers. The amount of heroin itself was a remarkable testament to how much heroin is flowing through the interior cities of New England. But there was something else remarkable about this heroin. It was branded with the face of Donald Trump."

"Our political class is largely ignoring what amounts to a nationwide drug epidemic every bit as serious as the 1980s crack epidemic."

"The CDC estimates that over half a million Americans have an opioid abuse problem involving heroin."

We must all encourage our politicians to make this non-partisan issue a priority. We must all write to the next POTUS and tell her/him how we really feel!!!


For the first time in U.S. history, the Surgeon General has sent letters to each and every physician warning them about the Opioid Epidemic.

Dr. Vivek Murthy is not only asking for changes in prescription practices, but also "asking clinicians to help us change how our country thinks about addiction."

For a more in-depth analysis of the role physicians play in this health crisis, please read my blog post, "Heroin Epidemic Reason #1: Blame the Doctors".

As evidenced by the Surgeon General's warning, we must all take steps to change how the country thinks about the disease of addiction.

To that end, I am donating all my author proceeds from my novel, Addiction on Trial, to addiction treatment centers, homeless shelters and academic endeavors that support the destigmatizing of addiction.

I hope you will consider buying a copy for yourself or to give it as a gift to anyone interested in changing hearts and minds about the disease of addiction.

Please also visit my Facebook page or Twitter account to learn which organizations have been identified as the beneficiaries of this ongoing fundraising campaign.

If you would like to recommend any additional organizations that would benefit from an author-proceeds fundraising campaign, or awareness-building social media posts, please send information to me through my Contact Page.

Below, please read about how Dr. Vivek has taken unprecedented steps by sending an official Surgeon General's warning to all doctors about opioids, which he calls 'the health crisis of our generation'.

Photo Surg GenI have included below a copy of the personal letter I received. I look forward to assisting the Surgeon General in his mission to destigmatize the disease of addiction!  Remember - "It Takes a Village" and "A Thousand Points of Light".

Surgeon General's Warning

I welcome your comments, questions and insights by either clicking "Leave a Reply" below, or by answering any of my Polls about the Heroin Epidemic!

I recently spoke with Acadia Family Center about their efforts in treating the disease of addiction.

Their work in treating the biological, psychological and sociological aspects of this illness is critical to the communities of Mount Desert Island, Maine. Like many treatment centers, they are facing the challenges of increasingly limited local resources and budget cuts despite the growing addiction epidemic.

To help their important cause, from August 22 through September 15 I am donating all author proceeds from the sales of my book, Addiction on Trial, to the Acadia Family Center.

Addiction on Trial, the first in a series of Shawn Marks Thrillers, revolves around the murder cases of attorney Marks. Addiction on Trial sends a powerful message of societal discrimination toward drug addicts and explores common misperceptions about what drug addiction really is - a chronic illness requiring a treatment approach similar to other chronic diseases. Medical and behavioral aspects of addiction are woven into the intrigue of this thriller, which culminates in a riveting murder trial.

Please also watch my brief conversation with Chris Popper about the issues related to addictive illnesses and the Acadia Family Center to learn more about effective treatment modalities.

Do you know of another treatment-related organization that needs extra help, in the form of donations, event promotion, or other support? Please reach out to me on the Contact Page on this site.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be asking questions of my blog, book and social media readers. This poll relates to the stigma around opiate addiction, and how culture plays into it.

Today's question relates to why you may watch or read fictional content about opiate addiction?

[yop_poll id="3"]

For Question #1, click here, and for Question #2, click here.

Thank you for answering, and please share with your friends!

It's time to end the stigma and silence around--and the causes of--drug addiction.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be asking questions of my blog, book and social media readers.

Today's question relates to the art, journalism and culture around opiate addiction, what you consume, and why?

[yop_poll id="2"]

For Question #1, click here.

Thank you for answering, and please share with your friends!