News & Events

July 5, 2020

The Stigma Around Addiction is Part of the Problem

Through two episodes of Portage Health Foundation’s Addiction Series we’ve learned how serious of an issue addiction is in our community and how the brain controls so much of this issue. In episode three, we’ll dive into why we as a community need to be more understanding and supportive of those suffering from addiction. We’ll hear from Rebecca Crane with Dial Help, the Portage Health Foundation’s Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette and Kevin Store, Mark Maggio from the Phoenix House and finish with a plea for support from former addict Nikki Collins.

You can watch the video above, or listen to the audio version below:

Highlights from Episode 3

Rebecca Crane, Executive Director at Dial Help

  • “People a lot of times think it’s a moral issue or it’s a matter of willpower, and they don’t really understand how addiction gets rooted to begin with and how it’s self perpetuating.”
  • “To me it’s sort of like saying to someone with diabetes or cancer, if you just had enough willpower you would just get over this not realizing that for a lot of people it gets to a point where they absolutely have to have help.”
  • “Treatment is available.”

Kevin Store, Executive Director Portage Health Foundation

  • “The face of addiction has dramatically shifted. As a community one of the first things we can do to be part of the solution is to recognize that that is the case.”

Mark Maggio, Executive Director of Phoenix House

  • “In practice addiction is often still viewed as a choice.”
  • “It’s hard to get passed …it creates a fear and anger. But the reality is understanding the addiction for what it is and understanding the physiology of the brain functioning and how it shuts down those rational parts of the brain.”

Nikki Collins, a former addict and current business owner

  • “We have a substantial amount of amazing people who have recovered.” 

“Addiction is like dancing with the devil,” is a line we hope you remember the next time you think about someone with addiction. It’s a dangerous disease that can be fatal. Thank you to Nikki for sharing her personal experience, and to Mark and Dr. Frimodig for sharing their expertise.

Looking Ahead

Addiction is not a choice. If you take nothing else away from this series, we hope you remember to show as much compassion as possible to those who are suffering from it. Your support for them could be life saving. In our next episode we’ll hear about law enforcement’s role in addiction. Signup on the form below to receive an email when new episodes drop. 

More About PHF’s Addiction Series

Visit to see a list of all episodes, find resources on addiction in our community and to subscribe to receive an email when the next episode drops. Be sure to subscribe the Portage Health Foundation’s YouTube channel to never miss a video episode or find PHF Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts to catch the audio version of this podcast.