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Last Day

Author: Lemonada Media

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Let's talk about what’s killing us, the stuff that’s hard to comprehend and getting worse every day. Lemonada co-founder and author Stephanie Wittels Wachs confronts massive epidemics with humanity, wit, and a quest for progress. Starting with overdose deaths and the opioid crisis, we zoom in on a person’s last day of life, exploring how they got there and how we, as a society, have gotten here.

22 Episodes
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20: Love Is the Why

20: Love Is the Why

2020-02-1900:48:081

DeRay Mckesson and TeRay Ross are world-class community leaders, siblings, and the best of friends. They also grew up surrounded by addiction in both their immediate and extended family. As a result, they spent lots of time as kids hanging out in the back of 12 step meetings, absorbing lessons that continue to impact them as adults. This week, we sit down with DeRay, TeRay, and their dad, Calvin, to talk about how their understanding of addiction has evolved over the years and how they continue to support each other to this day.  Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  wealthfront.com/lastday betterhelp.com/lastday Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/
19: Mommy, Again

19: Mommy, Again

2020-02-1200:38:481

When Emily found out she was pregnant, her life began to snowball in a positive direction. She stopped using heroin, reconnected with family and was rocking it as a new mom to her beloved daughter, Carter. Sadly, Emily relapsed and died when Cater was 9-months old, leaving Emily’s mom, Joanne, to navigate the unexpected journey of becoming a new mom all over again. Today, Carter is four years old and thriving. She loves her Aunt Diane and Grandma “Mommy.” In this episode, we hear the heartfelt story of how one family is adjusting to raising a child, spreading awareness about addiction, and advocating for better policies to help families like theirs. Please note, Last Day contains strong language and mature themes. It may not be suitable for all listeners.  Rothys.com/lastday betterhelp.com/lastday Generations United’s National Center on Grandfamilies Key Notes Podcast  Onsite Grief Workshop Overdosed newsletter by Diane Roznowski Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/
Brandy and Wilma are two women who have a lot in common. They both grew up in California, they both experienced profound childhood trauma, and they both turned to drugs to soothe their pain. But their stories end very differently. Brandy died 10 years ago, at 28 years old. Wilma is now in her 50’s, approaching 10 years sober and living a busy, meaningful life. In this episode, we look at cycles of trauma and how facing it head-on can make all the difference in recovery. Please note, this episode of Last Day contains graphic details of physical and sexual abuse along with strong language and mature themes. It may not be appropriate for all listeners. casper.com/lastday betterhelp.com/lastday Water By The Spoonful at Stages  Pod Save the People International Association for Suicide Prevention National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 The Trevor Project Befrienders Worldwide Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/
Dr. Gabor Maté is a world-renowned trauma expert who can (and will) deconstruct your happy childhood in a matter of minutes. At least, that’s what he did to our host, Stephanie. We start this episode with the question, “Why?” Why would someone get addicted to opioids? In this riveting interview, Dr. Maté expands our definition of trauma, breaks down how childhood trauma leaves wounds and how addictions of every kind are an attempt to soothe those wounds, and explains that healing is possible.  Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  Somatic Experiencing from Peter Levine Sensory Motor from Pat Ogden Emotional Feeding Therapy MDMA and other psychedelic therapy studies Compassion Inquiry from Dr. Gabor Maté Internal Family Systems therapy from Richard Shwartz Ketamine Therapy  EMDR Therapy Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress Scattered Minds: A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Disorder https://drgabormate.com/ Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett wealthfront.com/LastDay lastday.robinhood.com Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/
16: Doing Dopey

16: Doing Dopey

2020-01-2201:00:506

Dave and Chris co-hosted 142 episodes of Dopey, a recovery podcast about “drugs, addiction and dumb shit,” when the worst thing that could have ever happened, happened: Chris relapsed and died. This week, Stephanie sits down with Dave, who’s still hosting Dopey, to chat about Chris’s last day, recovery, and the transformative power of losing someone you love.  Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  DOPEY PODCAST - The Dark Comedy of Drug Addiction | Heroin | Cocaine | Meth | Weed | Drugs | LSD | Recovery | Sobriety Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss Broken Justice on Apple Podcasts Lastday.robinhood.com Mouthpeace with Michael & Pele Bennett on Apple Podcasts ‎Food, We Need To Talk on Apple Podcasts ‎Family Ghosts on Apple Podcasts Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/
15: A Parenting Nightmare

15: A Parenting Nightmare

2020-01-1500:52:584

A few years ago, Laurie McTeague noticed her teenage son, Ian, was uncharacteristically depressed. So she went snooping around on his phone and discovered that he’d been widely experimenting with nearly every drug under the sun. What followed was years of relentless searching for effective adolescent treatment while her son continued to relapse again and again. As a parent, how do you navigate this?   Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss www.lemonadamedia.com/lastdaysurvey  rothys.com/lastday www.lemonadamedia.com/shop Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/
14: Last Day of Use

14: Last Day of Use

2020-01-0800:49:552

This season started with the question: How did we get here? How did Stefano and Harris overdose and die in their early 30s? How did our country lose 400,000 lives to opioids since 1999? In the new year, we turn our attention to other last day stories, and other kinds of last day stories. Brittany and Ahren are high school sweethearts who built a life and a family together, when “the blues” came into the picture. Brittany and Ahren talk about Ahren’s addiction, his last days of using, one ugly night, their joint recovery, and what gives them hope for the future. Plus, addiction medicine doctor Dr. Charles Reznikoff shares his approach to early recovery.   Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  Dr. Charles Reznikoff, M.D. Casper.com/LASTDAY promo code LASTDAY Nativedeodorant.com promo code LASTDAY wealthfront.com/LastDay Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/
We asked. You answered. This week, we hear from Last Day listeners about why the holidays are so hard, different, stressful, all of the adjectives. Stephanie chats with Dr. Neha Kumar, a clinical psychologist, about tips to get through the season and ways we can honor our loved ones who are no longer with us. Drug and alcohol counselor Wilma Hawkinson discusses being newly sober during the holidays and the importance of making new memories; Miss Ian Callaghan, Executive Director of San Francisco Drug Users Union, provides useful advice for those who have someone with active addiction in their lives; and comedian James Tison explains how boundaries keep holiday gatherings healthy. Plus, a very special letter from Santa.  Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.    San Francisco Drug Users' Union James Tison Vistaprint.com promo code LASTDAY Nativedeodorant.com promo code LASTDAY Mylola.com promo code LASTDAY Reset podcast Eleanor Health Boomtown podcast Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/ Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday.
12: What I Know Now

12: What I Know Now

2019-12-1100:40:441

This week, Stephanie sits down with the parents—Stefano’s and her own—to dig into where everyone is with their grief, understanding, and personal responsibility around what happened to their sons. Hint, hint: The moms and dads are in very different places.  Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be suitable for all listeners.  Broken Justice podcast Casper.com/LASTDAY  (promo code LASTDAY) SimpliSafe.com/LASTDAY TalkSpace.com (promo code LASTDAY) Policygenuis.com Reset podcast In this episode, Steph’s mom makes an off-handed comment about suicide. If you or someone you love needs support, reach out to Suicidepreventionlife.org or call 1-800-273-8255.  Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/ Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday.
11: Wake Me Up

11: Wake Me Up

2019-12-0400:53:284

This week, we circle back to where this story began — on the ground, in Boston, with Jess. Joined by new voices (Gary Mendell, Michael Botticelli, Mayor Marty Walsh) and familiar ones (Stefano’s wife, Paige), Jess delves into what it’s been like to produce a show that’s so deeply personal. By the end of the episode, she’s finally able to answer the question that drove her to create the show in the first place: What could I have done differently?  Please note, Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  Shatterproof.org Knock and Talk - Boston Michael Botticelli’s TED Talk: “Addiction is a disease. We should treat it like one.” Grayken Center Boston’s Office of Recovery Services Good Kids Podcast Stamps.com (promo code LAST DAY) mejuri.com/lastday mybillie.com/LASTDAY  Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/ Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday.
This week, Stephanie sits down with Garth Mullins, who hosts an award-winning podcast in Canada called Crackdown, which is also about drugs. The difference? Garth is coming at it from the perspective of a drug user. The plan was to talk about international solutions and Garth's recent reporting in Portugal (which they do discuss) but they also compare notes as two podcasters making shows based on personal trauma. And in the process, Stephanie has a huge revelation.  The holidays are approaching, whether we like it or not. Whatever you’re going through, we would love to hear your stories, your concerns, and your tips for making it through to the new year. Even if you just want to share a happy memory of your person! Share your holiday stories with us at 1-833-4LEMONADA or via voice memo at hey@lemonadamedia.com.    Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.    Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. Crackdown Podcast Crackdown Podcast: The Portugal Paradox  Garth Mullins everlane.com/lastday Native Deodorant (promo code LASTDAY) Mejuri.com/lastday Good Kids Podcast Your Primary Playlist Podcast
9: Kids At Ground Zero

9: Kids At Ground Zero

2019-11-1300:54:003

This week, we talk about the variety of ways that children are affected by the opioid crisis. Also, Stephanie has a breakdown because it’s hard to accept the things you cannot change. In this episode, she sits down with Peter who describes the process of adopting three kids born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome; The Seattle Times’ Claudia Rowe who gives an overview of how this epidemic is impacting kids in the foster care system; and Kendra Cram and Ryan McGraw from Minford Elementary in Ohio, who have created a program that addresses social and emotional learning for kids who have been impacted by trauma.  Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.    Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. Claudia Rowe for the Seattle Times New York Times story on Minford Elementary Casper.com/lastday (promo code LASTDAY) hellofresh.com/LASTDAY80 Talkspace (promo code LASTDAY) Good Kids: How Not to Raise An A**hole An Arm and A Leg Dopey
8: America Is Insane

8: America Is Insane

2019-11-0600:46:097

While “opioids” has become a political buzzword, national policy on opioids is virtually nonexistent. Our system is nowhere near able to meet the needs of those who desperately need help. So what’s it going to take to move the needle, so to speak? Stephanie sits down with Congressman Patrick Kennedy to talk about legislation and funding (see: lack of funding) for mental health and addiction; Sarah Gad about her dramatic journey from Cook County jail inmate to congressional candidate; and Andy Slavitt about what we should be looking for if we care about this issue as we head into election season. Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.    Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com.   Show Notes:  The Kennedy Forum Sarah Gad for Congress Andy Slavitt  mybillie.com/lastday Encyclopedia Womannica Mental Health for US
7: 20,000 Fewer Funerals

7: 20,000 Fewer Funerals

2019-10-3000:48:497

We’ve tried arresting people. We’ve tried shuffling them from place to place. We’ve tried shaming them into sobriety. What would happen if, instead, we met people where they’re at? Stephanie talks to Ithaca’s Mayor Svante Myrick and Bronx harm-reductionist Hiawatha Collins about the inequities of our justice system and how we can do better, including treating all people with dignity and respect, going into communities and reducing potential risk, and creating medically-staffed safe spaces for drug use. It may sound controversial, but according to data worldwide, it could mean 20,000 fewer funerals a year in America. Step into the no-judgment zone. All are welcome here.    Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.    Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/.  Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com.   Show  Notes:  • Harm Reduction Coalition • Insite Supervised Consumption Site • Parks & Recreation  • Lola (promo code LASTDAY) • Pod Save the People
6: The Magic Formula

6: The Magic Formula

2019-10-2300:48:0410

Today marks the 2-year anniversary of Stefano’s death, and his family is still asking: “How did this happen?” For most families dealing with addiction, treatment can feel like a Rubik’s cube. What works? What doesn’t? Are there Yelp reviews? On this episode, Stephanie talks to David Sheff, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction, about the morass of confusion that is the rehab industry and Dr. Nzinga A. Harrison about the importance--and effectiveness--of treating the whole person.   Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.    Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. David Sheff Dr. Nzinga A. Harrison Eleanor Health Everlane/lastday Native (promo code LASTDAY) Do You Need A Ride?
5: Shame City

5: Shame City

2019-10-1600:34:586

In this episode, Dr. Nzinga A. Harrison walks us through detox. Then, Stephanie is joined by Dr. Robert Meyers, the architect of Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT), to discuss the “put your own oxygen mask on first” approach to interventions. Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.    Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. Dr. Nzinga Harrison CRAFT Hellofresh.com/LASTDAY80 simplisafe.com/lastday
4: Was It Painful?

4: Was It Painful?

2019-10-0900:39:306

Most of us have seen an opioid overdose depicted on TV or in movies, but what happens in real life? On this episode, Stephanie talks to Karen Host, Senior Director at Cataldo Ambulance, and Dr. Jay, an emergency room doctor, about the anatomy of an overdose, what it’s like to save a life, the immediate aftermath, and the complexity of prescribing opioids for pain in the midst of an opioid crisis. Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners. Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. Manova Town Hall Registration As Me with Sinead mybillie.com/lastday casper.com/lastday (promo code LASTDAY) With Friends Like These
3: And Now, We Rewind the Tape

3: And Now, We Rewind the Tape

2019-10-0200:43:3010

On this episode, Stefano Cordova Jr.’s family tries to make sense of Stefano’s overdose death and how they all got here. Then, Dr. Sam Snodgrass, a behavioral pharmacologist with a doctorate in biopsychology, explains how his own addiction to opioids is a disease and why understanding that is key to helping people with substance use disorders. Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners. Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. Broken No More LOLA  With Friends Like These
2: Stefano’s Last Day

2: Stefano’s Last Day

2019-09-2500:32:049

On this episode, we retrace the steps of Stefano Cordova, Jr. on his last day of life. Stefano died of a fentanyl overdose on October 23, 2017 in Allston, MA. This is where our story begins. Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  Transcriptions available shortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. Terrible, Thanks for Asking Episode #12: Horrible and Wonderful and Figuring it Out
Meet Stephanie Wittels Wachs, host of Last Day, and sister of the late Harris Wittels, comedian-writer-producer-actor, who died in 2015 of a heroin overdose. Harris’ close friends, Sarah Silverman and Aziz Ansari, also join Stephanie as she introduces the concept of the show and why it’s critical that it exists. Continue the conversation on your phone at https://flick.group/lastday. Last Day contains strong language, mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.  Transcriptions availableshortly after air date at https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/last-day/. Last Day is presented by www.newchapter.com. Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss, by Stephanie Wittels Wachs Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty, by Harris Wittels  You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes: Harris Returns (Parks and Rec! Comedy! Don't Stop or We'll Die!) returns to make it weirder!
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Comments (37)

kc Shaver

Stephanie- I love it. I passed it along to my sister who has had to live with the possibility of me dying for many years. I am in remission now and love your words of encouragement.

Feb 19th
Reply

BC

Every episode of this podcast is wonderful.

Feb 16th
Reply

Melissa

I love this podcast. But I don't why because it makes to cry in every episode.

Feb 14th
Reply

BC

That is a truly hard childhood.

Feb 6th
Reply

Andi-Roo Libecap

This was really hard to listen to. Such a tragedy,,, truly heartbreaking. I hope Stephanie found some solace in making this podcast about her brother's overdose, and I hope it helps others who suffer with drug addiction.

Feb 2nd
Reply

Klaudia Stewart

very, very interesting episode!

Jan 29th
Reply

BC

this is something I stumbled across and is not mine. I think it was referenced in one of the earlier episodes. “Never Use Alone” is a number you can call when you have no choice but to use when you’re alone. If you call (800) 484-3731, an operator will answer your call, and ask for your first name, location and whether you have any allergies, or medical conditions. After you’ve given us this information you can go ahead and inject your substance. After you’ve ingested the substance, we will continue communicating with you. If you do not respond after 30-45 seconds, we will notify emergency services of a possible overdose at the location you’ve given us. We will never shame you, judge you, or preach at you to quit. If you are ready to quit though, we have treatment resources for every state in the US. Regardless if you have insurance, or not. We will do our best to connect you with the help you need. please call. We are on standby. https://www.facebook.com/Neverusealone/

Jan 28th
Reply

E J

I am not hearing anything from this mother about "higher power". Why is that??

Jan 15th
Reply

Heather Boylen

Best epissode❤️ love you Mr Snodgrass!

Jan 14th
Reply (1)

Chuck Panzarella

Sometimes I personally feel guilty for being on Suboxone... especially in a NA meeting...but listening to your entire catalog made me realize that it allows me to live instead of die and function at work all the while while learning how to STAY clean. I could always get clean but no serious length of time... excellent research...Thank!!

Jan 14th
Reply

Heather Boylen

I am a heroin addict and suboxone saves me. I do not understand why the government makes it so difficult to get medication assisted help. Addicts have families and jobs just like anyone else. Not that many people can take a month off cold turkey and it hardly works even if they can. It is so easier and more helpful to assist people instead of punishing them. And cost effective.

Jan 11th
Reply

E J

Great podcast. Must listen for "normies" 😏

Jan 8th
Reply (1)

Tony Hubler

Awesome episode

Dec 18th
Reply (1)

Suzanne Hubbard Gerken

I have lost two siblings, not to opioids, but unexpectedly and young(ish). I mean, I'm there youngest so they're all old compared to me, ya know? So yeah, life seriously sucks when you lose a brother or sister. Unless you are actually old, it just isn't natural and probably isn't natural even then. I love your podcast and my daughter is recovering from addiction (7 years)

Dec 13th
Reply (4)

Need ID Indeed

Why does Stefanos wife talk like 14 year old teen?! Jesus.. Like umm I don't know but like.. For me it's like you know not to be mean but please stop its annoying as fuck.

Dec 11th
Reply

BC

This is the best episode of this season.

Dec 9th
Reply (1)

BC

I know this is a podcast about loss and loved ones who suffer from addiction, however, many autistic people do not believe in Autism Speaks. https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/11/13/why-autism-speaks-doesnt-speak-for-me/

Dec 7th
Reply

BC

Every new episode of this podcast is informative and honest and I've learned so much. If you are only mildly aware of the opioid crisis or what motivates people who suffer from opoid addiction, I highly recommend this series.

Nov 26th
Reply (1)

Melissa

dr. Harris is amazing!

Oct 30th
Reply (1)

Melissa

Great Pod!

Oct 23rd
Reply (1)
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