Jacob Goldberg – Substance Abuse on College Campuses, an Old Problem With New Solutions | Episode 4

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Shlomo Hoffman
Mar 23, 2021

Jacob Goldberg, LCSW, LAC, CCS, Recovery Community manager for Tulane University, joins Rubber Bands and Avenues Recovery to discuss the evolving understanding of addiction on college campuses.

Follow Jacob’s path through addiction and recovery, to finding his place helping others find their recovery. We discuss substance abuse on campus and how to employ non-punitive encouragement to students suffering from substance use disorder.  

What can everyone do to help solve this enduring problem? You’ll have to listen to find out…

CHAPTERS

00:01:40 – Meet Jacob
00:02:50 – From the beginning
00:04:08 – New Orleans
00:05:41 – Jacob’s journey
00:09:47 – Legal issues
00:11:09 – Recovery that sticks
00:14:27 – Working in recovery
00:17:05 – Fishing!
00:17:50 – Find a passion in recovery
00:20:48 – Talking College
00:23:15 – Drugs for success
00:25:41 – School responsibility
00:29:47 – Collaborations
00:34:17 – Elevator Pitch
00:35:24 – How to reach Jacob

Transcript:

Welcome to Rubber Bands, an Avenues Recovery Podcast. Conversations about the push and pull of addiction and recovery. And now, here’s your host, Shlomo Hoffman.

[0:27] Shlomo Hoffman: Hey, again, everybody. This is Shlomo Hoffman with Rubber Bands Podcast, conversations about the push and pull of addiction where we explore various initiatives and real-life stories about people struggling with addiction, people battling addiction, and people finding ways to fight addiction.

Recently, Avenues Recovery Centers has begun an initiative of outreach to local colleges in the areas we service to hear what they’re struggling with, to hear how we can help, how we can collaborate. A lot of colleges are doing a lot of amazing things in terms of getting kids to understand the dangers of the opioid epidemic and other substances and giving education to faculty about how to properly guide and help students navigate through these younger years when they’re struggling with various different new experiences and the like.

Today, we bring in Jacob Goldberg from Tulane University. He is the Recovery Community Manager at Tulane University who will share with us his story, his own personal story of recovery, how he got to be in the mental addiction field, and the realities of the experiences of the college student today in the United States with regard to addiction. Jacob, how have you been?

[1:39] Jacob Goldberg: I’m well, Shlomo. Thank you for having me here, man. It’s an honor to be a guest on the podcast. I am a follower, so I’m hopeful that your audience will appreciate some of the content that I’m sharing today. Again, I’m really grateful to be here. I can introduce myself a little more. I appreciate that introduction.

Again, my name is Jacob Goldberg. I’m down in New Orleans, Louisiana. I work for Tulane University as their Recovery Community Manager. It’s a relatively new initiative on campus. I have various different roles. My focus is to help support students in recovery to do some advocacy work, to do some educational work so that students can have a very supportive college experience and still be able to practice their recovery skills. I’m happy to be here. I can dive in a little bit of some of my background and what got me here if that’s where we want to start.

[2:50] Shlomo Hoffman: Yes. Let’s start there. It’s always a good place to start is from the beginning. Right?

[2:53] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. I can get all tangential and be all over the place, so I’ll try to give you the CliffsNotes of who I am.

[3:01] Shlomo Hoffman: And I’ll try to keep you coloring within the lines. You don’t worry about that.

[3:03] Jacob Goldberg: I appreciate it, man.

[3:05] Shlomo Hoffman: Are you born and bred in New Orleans? Are you a Louisiana native?

[3:09] Jacob Goldberg: I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is approximately 63 miles west of New Orleans, a little up the Mississippi River, and it’s a vastly different environment than New Orleans. As you and your listeners know, New Orleans is just a very diverse melting pot of personalities, energies, and confluence of a lot of different ethnicities based on its historical background.

New Orleans is unique. I think we’ll get into a little bit later, but there’s this uniqueness that folks often describe themselves in the recovery space. Or if they’re struggling with a substance, I often feel that it’s very, very unique. So it’s kind of apropos that I’m in this very unique, diverse city dealing with a diverse issue, so to speak.

[4:08] Shlomo Hoffman: Would you consider the addiction battle, so to speak, unique in New Orleans more than in various other places?

[4:17] Jacob Goldberg: You guys know this because you’re in the industry. It’s still a very novel concept. It’s still novel in the scientific world that we’re acknowledging addiction as a disease. We’re trying to formulate what is the best practice to combat this disease? We don’t have a cure for it yet, but we’re getting closer to it, and we have better means of treating it and managing the disease.

I can say that in cities like New Orleans and probably cities that have a diverse spectrum of folks and are on the cutting edge of what’s going on in technology and science, they may be more up to speed on what’s happening like you guys are doing this podcast. There’s still a lot of stigma. There are still tons of assumptions about what substance use is an addiction and the treatment for it. Again, I can go off on this, but there are a lot of folks that feel like their way is the only way and maybe not founded in best practices or what the science is telling us today.

[5:29] Shlomo Hoffman: Fair enough. Let’s talk about you then. Let’s talk about your experience.

[5:33] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. Let’s give it to me. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge. I have been in New Orleans for about six years now. What got me here is part of my journey in my own personal recovery. I identify as a person in recovery.

[5:51] Shlomo Hoffman: How many years are you—

[5:53] Jacob Goldberg: Yes. I’m a little over 13 years in recovery.

[5:54] Shlomo Hoffman: Wow!

[5:56] Jacob Goldberg: I went to treatment twice. I went to treatment when I was 18. I also went to treatment when I was 21.

[6:04] Shlomo Hoffman: So you were basically struggling with addiction during your high school years. Is that correct?

[6:07] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. I wouldn’t tell you I was struggling with addiction. Those weren’t the words that I would use, but maybe some other people would. Basically, I was getting into some trouble because of some of the lifestyle choices I was making around alcohol and other substances. My trajectory was not in the greatest place. Because of some of my choices, I started having some consequences, like most people do. Right?

[6:36] Shlomo Hoffman: That’s correct.

[6:36] Jacob Goldberg: So, based on some of these consequences, there were some legal ramifications behind those consequences. It was like an option. It was like, “Jacob, you can go do this treatment. You can get some help because we feel like you have a problem with substances or your relationship with substances is impeding your progress. Or you could go to prison or jail.”

[6:59] Shlomo Hoffman: That was at 18.

[7:02] Jacob Goldberg: That was at 18. I could give you all kinds of stories that lead up to that, but that is the crux of it. I come from a good family with strong values. I had a good educational background. I didn’t have any kind of major significant traumas happen to me. My parents did divorce, but they were still supportive of us, my brother and I in our formative years and relationships. I played sports. I had tons of friends – a seemingly normal childhood with no major ruptures.

I fell into a lifestyle of using substances just like a lot of young kids do just from exposure. It was something to be cool. It was something to go against the grain. I’ve always been someone that has difficulty with boundaries and rules. You tell me that I can’t do this. I’m going to show you that I could do it.

[8:03] Shlomo Hoffman: You’re a Superhero.

[8:05] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah, exactly.

[8:07] Shlomo Hoffman: Superhero mentality.

[8:08] Jacob Goldberg: As a child, my prefrontal cortex is not developed enough to understand the consequences, and my insight and judgment are really impaired. Then you start putting substances in there that change some of the brain chemistry as well. You can’t tell me anything. Even at that age of 18, when the powers that be told me that I needed to do something different, and I had a problem, I was resistant to that idea.

[8:37] Shlomo Hoffman: So, what happened? You go to treatment at 18.

[8:40] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah, so I go to treatment at 18.

[8:43] Shlomo Hoffman: And then what?

[8:44] Jacob Goldberg: I get out of trouble. Probably about six months later, I go back to doing some of the same behaviors.

[8:51] Shlomo Hoffman: Are you in college now? Have you finished high school? Have you graduated?

[8:55] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. I graduated when I was 17, and I entered the state university at 18.

[9:02] Shlomo Hoffman: At LSU?

[9:03] Jacob Goldberg: At LSU. That’s right.

[9:04] Shlomo Hoffman: So, you believe tigers.

[9:06] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. Go tigers, man. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I know I like the freedom of doing what I want, whenever I want, without being under the hospice of my family’s rules.

[9:19] Shlomo Hoffman: Without people telling you what to do?

[9:20] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah.

[9:20] Shlomo Hoffman: You liked figuring it out.

[9:22] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. What happened is, I failed out of college. That was due to my relationship with substances. I prioritized that before my academic endeavors. I went to treatment. I got out of trouble for a little while. I decided to go back to the same behaviors that I was doing.

To your listeners that deal with the legal issues or know about legal issues, it’s easy to get in the system and hard to get out. Even though my family is well resourced, we had different means in which to thankfully mitigate some of that. I kept messing up. I was failing drug tests, Shlomo. All I had to do was pass some drug tests, and all the legal stuff would go away.

I failed the drug tests. I got one last shot when I was 21, and the judge said, “You’re going to have to have some consequences for this stuff because you’re not changing your behavior. At that point is when I entered a long-term residential male treatment facility. There were four younger guys.

[10:38] Shlomo Hoffman: So, there are elements here of youth. There are elements here of not being fully developed to understand consequences.

[10:44] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah.

[10:44] Shlomo Hoffman: Being smarter than the system. You’ve got those elements of denial and all kinds of things that we talk about all the time in the field.

[10:52] Jacob Goldberg: Oh, I lived it. I lived it, and I still have a little bit of that denial and resistance. I’m better at managing it a little bit now. So, fast-forward again, back to ’21, and what changed? What was different for me? Not much other than the experience of – first of all, I was in a longer-termed program. This program was a six-month program, step-down program. For me, personally, I needed that, and I’m an advocate of long-term treatment. I know you guys at Avenues—

[11:21] Shlomo Hoffman: Right. Very much so.

[11:22] Jacob Goldberg: —support long-term treatment. The environment that I was in, in the treatment facility, was profoundly the reason that I stuck around and maybe started to listen and hear some of the messages that facilities, like yourself, seminate to their patients is that maybe you don’t know everything about what’s going on with you. Maybe there is another way to approach this situation.

I just wanted to get out of trouble. And maybe there’s a lifestyle that you can embody that will give you some different results. So, it was through that time and meeting some peers, I would say, some folks that were in my age range, similar to my background, educated from similar family structures, and maybe even some more affluent folks.

[12:15] Shlomo Hoffman: Let me jump in here for a second. Was there a moment for you? Was there a person for you? Or was it just an evolution?

[12:20] Jacob Goldberg: No. I didn’t have any kind of ah-hah moment. I wish I could tell you a beautiful story of where I was sitting on the banks of the Mississippi, and I saw the ship come by.

[12:34] Shlomo Hoffman: Sometimes, the most beautiful story is just the hard work that built up every day – the water on the rock.

[12:38] Jacob Goldberg: It was a tough time and consistency. The insight, which I’m about to talk about, is when did that insight come in and say, “This is a reality, and the way that you’re living and acting right now is a beautiful thing, and it’s the sole reason why you’re having all these positive things happen in your life. I looked forward to the day – I was still on probation when I was 21.

I was like, “Well, I’m going to do this recovery thing. I’m going to go through the motions.” I was going to AA meetings at the time. I had a sponsor. I was doing all the things that the treatment center asked me to do. I thought, “I will get through this because this is helping me.” I acknowledged that. “I’m not failing drug tests anymore. I’m not getting into trouble. I’m not getting arrested anymore. I’m going to continue to do this. But, when I get done with all of this legal stuff, I think I can kind of handle it a little bit. I can drink a little bit. I might be able to do some other things.”

What ended up happening is, as that time went by, and I continues to do the steps of recovery and the actionable pieces that we ask people to do when it comes to actually having some change. My life started getting better. My relationships with my family and my friends, I had more of a direction and an idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in terms of my career.

I was overall healthier, and I think I had that insight because I remember finishing this probation and being like, “Well, it’s just another day. It’s great that I’m done with this.” At that point, I was already on my path—

[14:29] Shlomo Hoffman: You’re on the path.

[14:29] Jacob Goldberg: —toward working in the addiction treatment world, and that’s another big piece that’s kept me connected if I’m completely honest about it.

[14:39] Shlomo Hoffman: That’s very interesting. You know, a lot of times we talk about the industry, and if you look around the industry, it is so staffed. If you go through all the facilities, so many people have their own stories of recovery. A lot of times, people will talk about it in the sense of, they want to give back. They feel like this is what set them on their path, and it’s very meaningful to give back. But there’s another element there, which I think you’re alluding to here now, as well, is it keeps you connected—

[15:09] Jacob Goldberg: Keeps you connected.

[15:09] Shlomo Hoffman: —of your own health in your own recovery.

[15:14] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. What honestly happened when I was 20, 21, was the treatment center called me and was like, “Do you want to come volunteer or come work at the facility as a behavioral health tech?” I was like, “Sure. I’ll do that.” I did that. Like you said, I really enjoyed the ability of being able to give back because I felt like this place or this concept had been so helpful to me, so I wanted to be able to share that with other people. That’s really what got my foot in the door.

[15:49] Shlomo Hoffman: It’s also a realization that this really works. Like, “This worked for me. I’m doing something that really works.”

[15:56] Jacob Goldberg: I was walking results of like, “Listen. I’m not in jail anymore. I’m going to school. I can look people in the eye and have a clear conversation with folks.” That sort of thing. I’m more confident in my own being and being in front of people. That led to, at 22, getting my first addiction credential, which in Louisiana is a CIT, Counselor in Training.

I had wonderful mentors and opportunities, as I look back on it now, that were very, very invaluable. I got to sit in with – one of my mentors holds the same credentials that I have right now. I didn’t say that in the beginning of our podcast, like, “Oh, I’m this professional.” But I hold three different licenses. I’m a licensed Clinical Social Worker. I’m a licensed Addiction Counselor; I’m a Certified Clinical Supervisor.

[16:53] Shlomo Hoffman: Say it loud and say it proud, Jacob! You shouldn’t be ashamed of that.

[16:55] Jacob Goldberg: But, you know, I’m more than that. I’m more than that stuff. I also hold me—

[17:00] Shlomo Hoffman: Just show us the list.

[17:01] Jacob Goldberg: I have my co-star. I’m a licensed captain, as well, because I have this obsession of fishing.

[17:09] Shlomo Hoffman: Oh, cool.

[17:09] Jacob Goldberg: Shlomo, you get down here to New Orleans, Louisiana, and we’ll take you out on the boat, and we’ll show you a good time.

[17:15] Shlomo Hoffman: What’s your biggest catch?

[17:16] Jacob Goldberg: The biggest catch – I caught a 165 lb. yellow-fin tuna out of Venice a couple of years ago in October.

[17:22] Shlomo Hoffman: Wow!

[17:23] Jacob Goldberg: They’re catching big fish right now. We’ve got a trip scheduled in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, they’re still there. It would be nice to catch a 200 lb yellow-fin.

[17:30] Shlomo Hoffman: Did you eat it, or you threw it back in?

[17:32] Jacob Goldberg: Absolutely. We ate the tuna, fresh tuna. Who wouldn’t love that? That’s another subject.

[17:42] Shlomo Hoffman: That’s a good subject, though.

[17:43] Jacob Goldberg: It’s a great subject.

[17:42] Shlomo Hoffman: We’ll do it on our fishing podcast.

[17:46] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. I got introduced to that through recovery. Recovery opened up all these different passions. I tell people all the time when they’re getting into this: you’ve got to get the passion about something. I put so much energy into my ability to continue doing the various things and getting away with stuff and lying or cheating or just using substances or alcohol. I put energy into that, and you’ve got to be able to put some energy into—

Some people get really obsessed about their personal recovery and going to meetings and really immersing themselves in the 12-Step culture or another pathway to recovery. But I think it’s also important – and you see a lot of people get obsessed about their diet and their physical being. Some get more religious. Some start picking up different hobbies. For me, fishing was great. I could plan the trip. I was waking up super early on a Saturday morning.

[18:51] Shlomo Hoffman: It’s about self-development.

[18:55] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. We’ve got to find out who we are. I’ve been exposed to that earlier in life. The same mentor that I had that has the credentials that I have now, that I got to sit with and be with in psychotherapy group, he also was a big fisherman. As I’m talking about it now, it really crystalized it.

He had a lot of influence on me, and he did it in a very passive way. It was very invitational in terms of like, “Hey, this is the way my life is.” It seemed pretty happy, and he had a lot of cool stuff going on. I never thought I wanted to be a therapist growing up. Going to school, I was somewhat of the minority in classes as a heterosexual white male in the counseling demographics in school. Where we are now is – it was mostly female identities in that space. This was very different.

[20:01] Shlomo Hoffman: Interesting.

[20:01] Jacob Goldberg: When I talk to a lot of manly men about what I do, or we talk about therapy, most of the time they say, “What do you mean? Physical therapy? You’re a physical therapist?” I’m like, “Yeah, physical therapy.” It’s still a new construct in our culture here to acknowledge that talk therapy, going to treatment, asking for help is a wonderful thing, and everybody is fallible. If you can admit some mistakes and do something different behind it, wow, what a gift that you’re giving to yourself and to your family members and anybody else that’s around you.

[20:39] Shlomo Hoffman: Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing all that background. It gives us an idea of where all this passion is coming from. So, I appreciate that. Let’s talk about college because recently, we’ve been exploring this a lot at Avenues Recovery about this space. First of all, there are aspects of prevention.

There are aspects of people going into a new experience and being overwhelmed and also having the liberty. They’re not at mom’s house. There’s no curfew. Nobody is looking after them. They have that aspect, and there’s also fear, there’s pressure, there’s keeping up academically, there are so many things that are going on that are being thrown at a kid who’s leaving home for the first time.

[21:23] Jacob Goldberg: Absolutely.

[21:25] Shlomo Hoffman: There’s also an interesting component, I feel. We’ve done some research on our end in terms of colleges and students and what they’re experimenting with, what they’re busy with, what they’re doing in terms of substance abuse. A lot of times, the culture of college is closely perceived as a drinking culture, a hook-up culture, a lot of that party atmosphere, a lot of that stuff that’s going on, and that’s, obviously, stuff that has to be addressed, and there’s a huge element of alcohol on college campuses and how to do that responsibly. It’s obviously a big part of education in terms of addiction.

There’s also other stuff. I feel like this is a very interesting component. There’s an academic pull, like Adderall and those kinds of drugs that help kids stay focused, so kids that are not even looking to party. Quite the contrary. They’re looking to succeed. They need to keep up with their grades. They need to make it. They need to be at the top of the class. They’re driven. They’re ambitious.

[22:28] Jacob Goldberg: They’re moving so fast, and there are all kinds of productivity happening, and we have some really bright minds. Anybody that takes an amphetamine, it doesn’t matter if you’re diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, anybody is going to perform better initially with the amphetamine.

[22:47] Shlomo Hoffman: We’re talking about Adderall statistically. We’re talking about Adderall being prescribed over 70% more than from ten years ago. This is on the books.

[22:56] Jacob Goldberg: It’s big stuff. Where’s that coming from? I don’t know. Is that big pharma? Is it just we, as a society and culture, have accepted that you can take this and perform better?

[23:11] Shlomo Hoffman: I think this is like a really curious piece if you get in front of a kid. A lot of times, drug consumption is related to kids that are “bad” kids, and here we’re talking about kids that are really driven; they’re really ambitious. “This is the way I’m keeping up. I need this. I’m performing better.”

And to get in front of a kid and tell them, “You’re going to be okay. You’re going to be successful.” Give you alternative measures to keep up and not to avail yourselves of these kinds of drugs, which you’re going to eventually get addicted to and will eventually just drag a terrible, terrible rabbit hole. So, when you’re sitting in front of a kid, Jacob, and he’s getting involved in Adderall, or there’s that type of element, what are you telling him? He’s desperate, like, “I need to stay afloat here. I’m drowning in terms of academic achievement.”

[24:03] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. It’s a tough one right there, Shlomo, because you want to say, “Just say no. Don’t do that.” Does that work when you say, “No, you can’t do that.”? People are smart. People are intuitive. People understand, and people make choices that they believe that they need.

Again, a lot of times, the argument is like, “I have this diagnosis. My physician prescribes it to me. I need it to be able to perform. When I don’t take it, I can’t perform.” And particularly once you have a certain level of amphetamine in your body, there’s a bounce-back experience, and so, yes, if you did stop taking it, it would be difficult to process.

[24:53] Shlomo Hoffman: I want to jump in here and make one disclaimer that, obviously, there are sometimes medical needs for somebody to take those drugs.

[25:01] Jacob Goldberg: Oh, sure. Absolutely.

[25:02] Shlomo Hoffman: We’re not advocating like, take this off the shelves.

[25:07] Jacob Goldberg: Right, no. Where does it come to where it becomes like, “This is going to be harmful for myself.”?

[25:14] Shlomo Hoffman: A college kid needs treatment. He’s addicted. He’s dependent. He needs to go to treatment. How do we get him into treatment, and how do we assuage his fears and his family’s fears of the losses that they’re going to take? Are they going to take losses? Are they not going to take losses?

How do we tell a kid: “You need treatment. You’re not going to lose anything. You’re not going to lose your place.” What’s a university’s responsibility in responding to a student that needs treatment? How do you feel about that?

[25:49] Jacob Goldberg: I think it’s a great question, Shlomo, and I think if we are doing much better. I can say here at Tulane, I can say overall in the college space of acknowledging that and wanting people to want to get help and encouraging and doing some intervention there.

Oftentimes, in the university setting, it starts with consequences. That’s what happens. They get in trouble. There’s some sort of behavioral issue on campus, and then the university may intervene and explore and say, “Okay. We’ve taken a look at the situation. What’s going on?” And then pull the family in and say, “Listen. Your son/daughter is having some issues, and these are our recommendations.”

[26:40] Shlomo Hoffman: What’s the most common response from the family?

[26:43] Jacob Goldberg: That varies. I could ask you the same thing.

[26:49] Shlomo Hoffman: You’re at the first step. You’re at the college step before the kid comes to treatment, and a parent is like, “No. My son? My son needs to graduate.”

[26:57] Jacob Goldberg: They’re like, “I don’t believe you.” There may be some denial there, as well. That’s where having some professionals that can objectively make an assessment of the situation and take collateral information and then make a recommendation, I think, is really important.

We do that a little bit at Tulane, and we’re expanding that in some ways at this college and in some ways identifies that maybe a person is struggling with something. There’s something there. We have some mechanisms in place internally to make a clinical assessment of somebody. But we also defer to outside organizations that are experts in this field like your organization, Shlomo. We would say we want you to go get an assessment done and follow the recommendations.

[27:53] Shlomo Hoffman: What’s the response to a student or a family that says, “What’s it going to be? He’s going to go to treatment? Is he losing his place in school? Is there going to be a punitive response? Now, basically, I’m coming clean as an addict.”

[28:07] Jacob Goldberg: That’s basic, and that’s different at each university. We’re talking about culture of the university, maybe change in their administration a little bit different. Again, I feel very thankful and privileged to work for a university like Tulane that honors recovery and that honors the understanding of a substance-use disorder, and that it is an illness, and that it needs to be treated and to not hold people and have punitive action for folks that are willing to do something about it. Sometimes, we need some punitive action; otherwise, we’re never going to make any changes.

[28:47] Shlomo Hoffman: Right.

[28:47] Jacob Goldberg: But to be strictly just like, “Hey, you violated our code of conduct. We’re going to kick you out.” Boom. That’s not the stance of the university.

[28:56] Shlomo Hoffman: So creating an atmosphere where it’s safe for the student to come to you and say, “I need help.”

[29:03] Jacob Goldberg: Sure. Sure.

[29:03] Shlomo Hoffman: “But I don’t want to lose my reputation. I don’t want to lose my place in school. I don’t want to be something – I want to get help. Help us.”

[29:12] Jacob Goldberg: I think our administration and the folks that work in those spaces are well-versed in some of that languaging. That’s important. So, educating about the individuals. You and I can talk about it. I can speak recovery language in all the words clearly because I’ve been in the addiction treatment industry for over ten years. Addiction impacts everybody, and especially in a university system, we’re dealing with students, and we need to have some knowledge-base of it and understand what we don’t know and defer to the folks that do know what’s going on.

[29:46] Shlomo Hoffman: And this is where I think there’s such a big place for collaboration between experts in the recovery field, like Avenues Recovery Center, or like an organization like ours. We know the backend of addiction. We know how to treat addiction and we talk to people that have tremendous expertise in students and how they work, like people like yourself who are working in the colleges.

I think that if we could come together and if we could find a way to come together to make collaborations – this is your area of expertise; this is our area of expertise, and we have this shared goal of making kids have the best possible outcomes and a real shot at sustained recovery.

[30:26] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. Absolutely. We’re starting to see it. There are other universities that have some of these partnerships with treatment facilities, and some universities that are actually beginning to do some of the – some of yours, you have the capacity to do at least some level of treatment in-house because there are clinicians and people who have expertise in the addiction field on campus. Maybe that’s a lower-level intervention.

Obviously, the goal of the university is to help these students thrive, and graduate, and matriculate through the system. If you pull the numbers across the nation about people who are taking medical withdrawals or who are failing out, and what is the rationale behind that? Oftentimes, it’s due to mental health or substance abuse issues.

There has been this shift of like, the university sees that. Essentially, we are a business in some ways, and we want to keep people here and do well, and that’s a mutually beneficial process. Can we help intervene with these folks? Whether we do something in-house with them or we say: We’re going to help you with your academic prowess, and we’re going to help to do a withdrawal; we’re going to help you sort everything out here, and let you get some help that you need, whatever that help is, whether it be going to treatment, a long-term or IOP, or a residential program. We’re going to get you into that space, and then we’re going to get you back to us and also give you the support.

That’s where I come in too. I do a lot of different things along addiction recovery spectrum on campus, but, “When you come back to campus, and you are a person in recovery, we have some supports already on campus for you, so you don’t have to create that all by yourself.” That’s still a novel concept. We’re talking about collegiate recovery, which has been around since the late 1970s. It’s been the last five to eight years that it’s really blown up and there are more universities.

[32:46] Shlomo Hoffman: Everyone’s bringing you their resources.

[32:48] Jacob Goldberg: There’s a national organization called ARHE, Associates in Recovery in Higher Education. It’s only about ten years old. It’s still very formative in its process. They’re doing a decent job of being able to be collaborative in this space.

[33:04] Shlomo Hoffman: And there’s still room for creativity and for resourceful minds to continue to make it develop and grow.

[33:10] Jacob Goldberg: Sure. I get excited talking about it.

[33:14] Shlomo Hoffman: We can see. You’re jumping in your seat.

[33:17] Jacob Goldberg: Yeah. I told you I’d take you off your time meter, but we’re talking about treatment right now and getting folks into treatment. But what about the academic prowess around addiction medicine and treatment. What about the folks like the people studying it in these universities and the science behind it to help contribute to the help and the work that facilities, like yourself, are doing?

[33:44] Shlomo Hoffman: The trickle-down effect.

[33:45] Jacob Goldberg: We’re a research institution here at Tulane. In the past year, we just started our first – and we’re a medical school, as well. We started an addiction-medicine fellowship so that you can have a rotation as a psychiatrist. It’s called Addiction Medicine, and that’s new stuff. To use those words in the science community—

[34:10] Shlomo Hoffman: If you get all the pieces rotating and working together, we can make a real difference.

[34:15] Jacob Goldberg: Absolutely.

[34:16] Shlomo Hoffman: Jacob, let me ask you this. What would your elevator speech, your two-minute response would be if somebody would ask you, “How can I help? I’m just a regular guy. I have a regular job. I sit in an office. I know some kids. Specifically, we’re talking about college education. What can I do to be an inspiration? What can I do to be a support? There’s drug addiction all over and all around us.” What would you tell the guy on the street? “I want to help.”

[34:43] Jacob Goldberg: Sure. I think the biggest thing and why I’m excited about talking about this right now is having the conversation, talking about it, bringing it up in dialog with folks that may not understand. We can have this conversation because we’re in the industry together, but to be able to start talking about it, that’s how we’ll stop the stigmatization around it.

[35:08] Shlomo Hoffman: Jacob Goldberg, from Tulane University, I want to thank you, first of all, for your passion because I’m fired up about treating addiction when I talk to you. You’ve been amazing! Thank you for your graciousness and for your help. Everybody, this was Jacob Goldberg at Tulane University, Recovery Community Manager.

[35:24] Jacob Goldberg: Let me do a little plug, real quick, Shlomo, before you end it. If anybody wants to get in touch with me, it’s pretty easy. You can Goggle my name and Tulane. My contact number comes up, my direct number. Email me, text me. All your followers, if you have any ideas, we’re excited. Shlomo, you’ve inspired me. I think we’re going to be starting a podcast, as well.

[35:47] Shlomo Hoffman: Oh, nice. I’m waiting for an invite.

[35:50] Jacob Goldberg: I’ll need some direction because, like you said, I’m all over the place. I need to step back and just be able to engage. I appreciate you inviting me to be here. Again, Collegiate Recovery, and recovery at Tulane, and recovery in general. I’m happy to help assist in any way I can. It’s my passion, obviously, and where I will be.

[36:13] Shlomo Hoffman: There you have it. Jacob Goldberg from Tulane University. Thanks, everybody, for listening. Rank, rate, and subscribe to Rubber Bands, conversations about the push and pull of addiction. Listen to our podcast; listen for future episodes, and any feedback would be greatly welcome. Thank you again, Jacob, and this has been another episode of Rubber Bands.

[End of Episode 4 – 36:56]

Music by:
“Strength of the Titans”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Since joining the Avenues Recovery content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. His popular addiction podcast "Rubber Bands" is a must listen for anyone involved in Substance abuse treatment. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.

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