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Photo Gallery: Addiction

In 2013, the Be Smart. Be Well. film crew sat down with recovering addicts and their families for first-hand advice on how to help an addict or alcoholic. We also interviewed some of the nation's leading addiction experts, including Wilson Compton, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Marvin Seppala, M.D., chief medical officer of Hazelden, and Steve Pasierb, CEO of The Partnership at, to learn why some people become addicted.

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We met Amy while working on our Women and Alcoholism video. She let us into her home and shared how shame kept her from seeking treatment for alcoholism.

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Stephanie is featured in our Women and Alcoholism video. She was in the car when her mom got pulled over and arrested for a DUI and remembers watching in disbelief.

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Sofia is a young, recovering addict who started using drugs and alcohol at 12. She and her father share her story of addiction—and recovery—in the video Addiction: Treat It Like a Disease.

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A behind-the-scenes shot with Sofia, who tried to get some studying done while we were filming some additional visuals for her story.

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An Ivy League graduate, Karen was the only African American woman working at a national law firm and seemed a rising star. She was also secretly drinking three bottles of wine a night. She told us of her descent into alcoholism and her recovery.

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We filmed John and his daughter in John's home. They told us how John's addiction to pain killers nearly took his life, and how she now supports him in his lifelong journey of recovery.

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Our intrepid Be Smart. Be Well. cameraman Alejandro Marin braves the Minnesota cold to get a nice shot of John's neighborhood.

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The Be Smart. Be Well. crew checks out the ice fishing (and the thickness of the ice on Forest Lake, Minnesota) before heading to Hazelden to our film interview with Marvin Seppala, M.D..

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Today, Marvin Seppala, M.D., is chief medical officer of Hazelden and a national expert on substance abuse treatment. At 17, he was a high school dropout, addict and the first adolescent treated at the nationally known treatment center. We interviewed him at Hazelden to learn how to help a person struggling with addiction.

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It's a disease, not a moral failing, Wilson Compton, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told Be Smart. Be Well. "People who are at risk of becoming addicts have differences in the brain system that may explain their responses to substances and why some people go on to develop addiction and others don't."

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Steve Pasierb, CEO of The Partnership at, shared advice on how families can view addiction for a disease. "If your child has leukemia, you rally the neighbors and family. But when addiction is present, we tend to withdraw. And stigma is one of the things we just have to get past," he said in our interview with him.

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