Greg interviews Jessica Nickel, the Executive Director of the Addiction Policy Forum. The mission of the Addiction Policy Forum is to ensure that addiction is treated as a disease, elevate addiction awareness and improve national policy through a comprehensive response. Jessica herself comes from a background of substance abuse, with many family members growing up struggled with the disease. Listen to her previous podcast interview with Greg here.

Greg asks Jessica what she attributes to her success in overcoming her difficult upbringing. Due to her parents’ struggle with substance abuse, her grandparents became her legal guardians at the age of 8. She says up until the age of 8, her upbringing was full of hunger, homelessness, law enforcement engagement and foster care. She explains what it was like to deal with the stigma attached to her as the child of an addict. “I remember being the nerdiest high schooler…and I still had some of that stigma attached to me because of my parents’ substance abuse,” says Jessica. “Certain people couldn’t be my friends or invite me to places because of my parents’ struggle.”

Listen to the rest of the podcast to discover her three main points on how to best navigate the risk factors of substance abuse.