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'Cold Turkey' Isn't The Only Way: How Substance Use Disorder Treatment Is Evolving

Mel Evans


Many substance use disorder treatment centers expect their patients to immediately stop using when they enter treatment. But this approach, often referred to as quitting “cold turkey,” is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

What other strategies are medical professionals using to treat substance use disorders? Should treatment be more hollistic, or first focus solely on ridding the body of drugs? Today’s guests discuss approaches to treatment and how to prevent further harm. They include:

  • Devin Reaves, executive director of Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition;
  • Sarah Danforth, harm reduction specialist with Prevention Point Pittsburgh;
  • Dr. Antoine Douaihy, M.D., senior academic director of addiction medicine services for UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital; and
  • Sarah Boden, health and science reporter for 90.5 WESA.
Credit 90.5 WESA/LinkedIn
Dr. Antoine Douaihy (left), Sarah Danforth (center) and Devin Reaves (right) discuss different approaches to treating people struggling with substance use.

Elsewhere in the program, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s absentee-ballot rules on Tuesday. WESA’s Chris Potter reports that the suit cites United States Postal Service cuts and Pennsylvania’s early deadline for absentee ballots as catalysts of voter disenfranchisement. The lawsuit claims 300,000 absentee ballots have not been counted since 2009.

Nearly 10,000 Americans hit retirement age every day, according to the AARP. Are those people ready for retirement? Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA and former chair of the Federal Reserve, explores who has gotten better at saving money for retirement and how far baby boomers need to go as they approach retirement age.

And Amazon announced Tuesday that it would split its secondary home between Long Island City in New York and Crystal City in northern Virginia. As Pittsburgh reacts to the rejection, WESA’s Margaret J. Krauss talks to city leaders about what they’ve learned through the process of courting the online shopping giant. Technology and education leaders also weigh in.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at
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