202. The Addiction Inoculation with Jess Lahey

Humans have always struggled with addictive substances. However, as evidenced by the opioid overdose epidemic and due in part to harmful policies like those from The War on Drugs that disproportionately affect individuals from minority communities, problems of addiction have worsened in recent years. Jessica Lahey, author of The Addiction Inoculation and The Gift of Failure, is an expert in education and has spent five years teaching in a drug and alcohol rehab for adolescents. In this episode of Psychologists Off the Clock, Jessica and Jill discuss risks and protective factors for addiction. Here (and in her book!) Jessica breaks down the most recent research on addiction in digestible, accessible ways. Join us to learn how you can reduce risk, increase protective factors, and better support your child in their experiences with drugs and alcohol today! 

Listen and Learn:

  • Jill and Yael’s thoughts on (and personal experiences with) the interplay between stress, growth, and parenting 
  • The touching, personal story that influenced Jess’ desire to write her newest book
  • How Jess’ writing experience has impacted Jill and helped her develop as a writer
  • An accessible explanation of the research on kids and addiction 
  • Jess and Jill’s personal encounters with addiction risk factors 
  • How to pragmatically reframe risk and why it’s important to do so
  • Risk factors that point to potential addiction and how to identify and deal with them
  • Protective factors against potential addiction 
  • Practical advice for reducing risk and increasing protective factors for your kids
  • How trauma can impact addiction and practical advice for fostering post-traumatic growth
  • If certain populations of kids are more at risk because of their parents’ careers
  • The importance of having a dependable network of support and having conversations about addiction early and often
  • Jess’ expert examples of how to talk about addiction with kids of different ages
  • Jess’ research-backed thoughts on parents allowing their teenagers to drink
  • The significant impacts of privilege on addiction
  • Important data you can refer to when making your own parenting decisions about alcohol 
  • How to respond when your kids start asking about your experiences with drugs and alcohol


About Jess Lahey:

Jessica Lahey is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Over twenty years, Jess has taught every grade from sixth to twelfth in both public and private schools, and spent five years teaching in a drug and alcohol rehab for adolescents in Vermont. She writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Washington Post, New York Times, and The Atlantic, is a book critic for Air Mail, and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ award-winning The Stinky and Dirty Show. She co-hosts the #AmWriting podcast with bestselling authors K.J. Dell’Antonia and Sarina Bowen from her house in Vermont, where she lives with her husband, two sons and a lot of dogs.

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Episode 202