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Addiction Series E2- The Brain and Addiction

Welcome back to the Portage Health Foundation’s Addiction Series. In the first episode we heard about how addiction is a serious issue in our community. In this episode we’re going to hear from Nikki Collins on what it was like to be addicted. We will then meet Mark Maggio, the executive director of Phoenix House, which provides residential services for males here in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, while also providing outpatient services to people throughout the Western U.P. We’ll finish today with UP Health System physician Dr. Adam Frimodig who dives into the science of addiction. Dr. Frimodig explains why and how addiction is a disease, and why we need to start treating it as such.

Highlights from Episode 2

Nikki Collins, a former addict and current business owner

  • “Addiction is like dancing with the devil.”
  • “Addiction is when you no longer have any control.”

Mark Maggio, Executive Director of Phoenix House

  • “No one that I know that is an alcoholic or a drug addict set out to become an alcoholic or a drug addict. It’s something that happened along the way, and once you’re caught in it, it’s a horrible place to be.
  • It’s a very difficult illness to get out of. Especially on your own.”

Dr. Adam Frimodig, UP Health System

  • “Brains actually function differently”
  • “We know the brain has a big part of this, so even when people want to stop they may not be able to stop at that point.”
  • “It’s not always safe to just stop by yourself.”
  • “It’s not because they’re bad people … it’s because their mind and their body is saying you need this to survive. When that switch is on, it’s a losing battle. Almost no one can fight that.”

“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

In the next episode we’ll dive into the stigma of addiction, and why we as a community need to move past that.

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.