Addiction specialist presents to juniors

Caroline Plunkett

Beit T’Shuvah Director of Youth and Family Services Doug Rosen spoke to juniors about substance addiction during class meeting March 15.

Beit T’Shuvah is a Jewish addiction rehabilitation organization that provides integrated care in a community setting.

Rosen told the class that he is a recovered drug addict.

“My goal is to inform you and to educate you,” Rosen said. “I damaged my physical health, my mental health, my brain by being an addict. I don’t want that to happen to any of you.”

Rosen said the intentions behind substance use impact how addiction forms.

“If you were to take an MRI of my brain playing video games in the seventh grade and me on heroin ten years later, you would see I achieved the same effect,” Rosen said. “It does not matter what you do; it matters why you’re doing it, how you’re doing it and if your life falls apart [without it].”

Rosen said his presentation was not aimed to scare students but rather to educate them about the effects of substance abuse.

“If, once you’re 21, you want to have a glass of wine, [you can],” Rosen said. “The key to a healthy relationship with potentially addictive substances is intention and moderation.”

Aldo Ayala ’24 said Rosen’s less idealistic mindset set him apart from other drug prevention assemblies the school has hosted.

“Most speakers just tell us to never do anything, and that can be unrealistic,” Ayala said. “It was refreshing to see them be okay with some stuff in moderation.”

“Both that she was from LA and that academic and social pressures were what caused her to do drugs, made her story feel more personal,” Tolbert-Schwartz said. “I feel like having someone who could have been a Harvard-Westlake kid speak makes these assemblies that much more impactful.”