Podcast personalizes opioid addiction, recovery

Jonathan Allen: There and back again.

Things get real in this month’s edition of the Health Story podcast, which offers insights on the national opioid-addiction crisis.

The latest installment of Northwell Health’s monthly series dives deep into one former patient’s journey of addiction and recovery – a cautionary tale about something that already victimizes Americans from every walk of life and “could happen to anyone,” according to the health system.

In this case, it happened to New Yorker Jonathan Allen, who tore ligaments in his knee as a teenager – an unfortunate but fairly typical sports injury – and wound up addicted to the prescription painkiller Vicodin.

Allen, now 30 and clean for the last two years plus, openly discusses his hazy journey into addiction and back, noting during the podcast that “you want to stop.”

“You want to stop taking these drugs eventually,” Allen says. “Your brain is like, ‘Yeah, that’d be great.’ But you … know you can’t do it.’”

Allen also discusses the treatment he received at the Garden City Treatment Center, part of Glen Oaks-based Zucker Hillside Hospital, along with the help of family, friends and other healthcare professionals.

The podcast, “Recovering from Opioid Addiction,” also features Sandeep Kapoor, Northwell Health’s director of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, who stresses the need for greater dialogue between doctors and patients.

“This is a true public health crisis we’re dealing with,” the doctor warns.

The 14-minute podcast is the eighth in the Health Story series, which debuted in 2017 to explore trends and interesting cases from within New York’s largest healthcare system. Previous episodes have followed a Northwell Health humanitarian mission into post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico and chronicled the recovery of U.S. Marine Dan Lasko, an amputee who received a life-altering leg prosthetic.