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The Beyond Addiction Show

Change is hard, but it doesn’t have to be confusing.

Join Dr. Josh King on this weekly podcast as he talks with experts in the field of addiction and co-occurring disorders and people who are working to change the conversation about substance abuse.

Whether you are trying to change your relationship with substances, learn how to cope with trauma or mental illness, help friends and loved ones, or are looking for a little inspiration and hope, The Beyond Addiction Show will get you the information you need to change in a way that you can understand. Over 20 million people in America struggle with their substance use. Hundreds of millions more are trying to change their lives in other ways to be healthier, to feel fulfilled, and to live a life that they really love. With expert interviews and information with the most current research about how to effectively make change, The Beyond Addiction Show will help you make those changes, and start living your best life. If you’re trying to make a meaningful change in your life, The Beyond Addiction Show will help you make it.

Nov 17, 2021

Dr. Josh King welcomes you to another episode and a new season of The Beyond Addiction Show and this time he is exploring the Harm Reduction Movement launched as a different approach to HIV and AIDS and which ended up impacting the way of approaching substance use treatment in general.


Today, Dr. King is accompanied by Maia Szalavitz, author of Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction, where she shows how Harm Reduction in the U.S. began with HIV treatment and evolved to include substance use disorders.


Key Takeaways:

[2:12] Maia shares about Harm Reduction Therapy and its beginnings.

[10:35] None of the drug policies that are being enforced in the USA are based on evidence.

[12:38] Maia explains the power of providing life-saving information to people.

[14:10] When you are kind to people they will be kinder to themselves.

[15:33] People need to learn skills in order to get better.

[16:30] Why do people get upset with Harm Reduction?

[20:01] People’s health gets worse when they are not left alone with their substance abuse, while research shows that their health improves when the health system acts compassionately.

[24:40] Maia talks about the case of antidepressants and opioids.

[26:25] Maia explains why she calls Harm Reduction “radical empathy.”

[29:58] People with substance abuse issues should be the ones who take the lead; counselors who believe they have control over someone’s life are prompt to develop abuse.

[32:40] Maia and Dr. King talk about the application of Harm Reduction.

[37:15] Maia gives advice to families who are dealing with someone with antisocial traits.

[40:22] Antisocial traits are more about impulsivity than social malice.

[43:19] Focus on the progress that people are making instead of punishing what is going wrong.

[48:39] People do better when they believe they are in control.

[51:55] Maia talks about the challenges she went through while writing her latest book.

[55:06] A little spoiler alert about one of Maia’s personal experiences that can be found in the book.


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Beyond Addiction Show 

Center for Motivation and Change

Center for Motivation and Change on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


Email Dr. Josh King at or tweet him at @DocJoshKing


Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction, by Maia Szalavitz