Anybody Heard About ‘Shatterproof’?

Mark Kleiman, at the Washington Monthly, “Cheap At Twice the Price!“:

Shatterproof is a new organization intending to do for substance abuse disorder what the American Heart Association does for cardio-vascular disease: combining collective self-help, research support, and policy advocacy. What excites me is that the policy advocacy will be relentlessly aimed at reducing the damage, rather than at fighting the culture war (from either side). They had me at “addiction to alcohol and other drugs.”

I don’t have a clue whether they can bring it off, but after several long conversations with Gary Mendell, the founder, I’m willing to give it a shot.

And that’s where your part comes in. As a fundraiser, Shatterproof is organizing a group of us to rappel from the Westin in Pasadena a week from Wednesday. If you’re one of the countless people who would love to see me break my neck, you now have a chance to contribute to the cause. Of course, it’s entirely possible that I will get to the bottom in one piece, but that’s just the risk you take…

From the Shatterproof website:

Shatterproof is building a national movement to decisively tackle the disease of addiction to alcohol and other drugs and bridge the enormous gap in addiction resources. This bold, new organization will focus its efforts around four strategic pillars: unite and empower all Americans to fight this disease; educate the public about the disease to end the stigma; advocate for change in public policy to bring down barriers to effective prevention, treatment, and recovery; and fund research to identify and put into practice evidence-based programs and strategies.

Shatterproof’s vision is an America transformed … an America where parents possess critical resources and information early on to protect their children from the clutches of addiction, where leading academic research is applied in the real-world, where addiction is treated like a chronic disease – not a choice, and where families struggling with the disease of addiction no longer face discrimination and judgment, but instead are treated with compassion and given the resources they need to heal…

This is the first I’ve heard about Shatterproof, and it’s nowhere near my area of expertise (apart from family history). Seemed like something that might be relevant to our interests, though.

44 replies
  1. 1
    cthulhu says:

    I gave up drug dependence research a few years ago (ha) but this seems mostly flash to me. Not that we couldn’t use a powerful non-profit umbrella outside of NIDA what with NIH’s larger ongoing issues but I don’t see anything about decriminalization or diversion or relevant structural poverty interplay. Let’s be clear – this is an ancient, literally thousands years problem. And the line “They had me at ‘addiction to alcohol and other drugs.'” indicates a fundamental naiveté about the field (but hopefully that’s just Kleiman).

    What this most strikes me as is a feel-good effort directed at upper-middle and upper class donors worried about their kids going the way of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

    But sure, more money and attention likely won’t hurt even if it may not help in this case.

  2. 2
    Bill B says:

    I looked at Shatterproof’s list of “partners” on their site, and Holy Crap On a Cracker, I’d file off my fingerprints and run to Mexico if I were you.

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    Ah, meth panels.

  4. 4
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @cthulhu: tens of thousands if not more [/archaeologist pedantry]

  5. 5
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    I hope it can make a difference. We are going thru a rough period of death by king hit on a famous and not so famous areas with young men and the over use of alcohol.
    I am afraid that I might need help after my surgery to get off pain killers and sleeping tablets. One step at a time, I guess.

  6. 6
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Putin may, I repeat, MAY have just blinked. He just ordered troops “practicing” military exercises on Ukraine’s borders to return to base.

  7. 7
    John M. Burt says:

    1) A rappel-a-thon, what an idea.

    2) Rappel down a building to raise money for a group called “Shatterproof”? Better hope it’s true….

  8. 8
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Debbie(aussie): I have found that when I needed a painkiller or sleeping aid, I didn’t become dependent on it. I don’t think you automatically become addicted to these substances but it’s a balance with use. In fact, when I had sciatica (herniated L5-S1 disc) painkillers actually did nothing to deaden the pain and I stopped using them quiet quickly. What helped was massive amounts of ibuprofen. Then again, once I had my surgery, there was no more pain.

    My advice is note the least amount that helps and take that regularly — not when the pain starts but on a routine, say every six hours. After a few days, as you heal you may not need either as much or as often.

  9. 9
    Greg says:

    No. Sorry. Not buying it. A flashy website means nothing. Plus, they throw “disease” around way too much. That means they ignore the fact that the true disease is the underlying mental illness that America loves to ignore. One of my best friends kicked alcohol and drugs via rehab and good for him. But the fact is that we all realized with horror that the alcohol and drugs were not why he was having problems, they were, in fact, what were keeping his serious mental issues under control. Sobriety has cost him his business, his friends, and may eventually cost him his family. Alcoholism was not his disease.

  10. 10
    jenn says:

    @Joseph Nobles: I hope so, but on the other hand, there were Russian “warning shots” at unarmed Ukrainian soldiers. Fortunately, no one’s died.

    Looks like there’s been a decision to have the US be the Bad Cop diplomatically (though we’re joined by Sweden, and a few others), and much of Europe be Good Cop.

  11. 11
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Greg: I think that pretty much on point, many folk self medicate to deal with other mental and physical issues.

  12. 12
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @jenn: Yes, I just found Simon Shuster on Twitter who’s Time’s reporter in Moscow. He’s at the Belbek military base where that happened. He said the Russians fired into the air as unarmed Ukrainian soldiers approached them in formation to peacefully resist any attempt to take over the base. They were carrying a Soviet flag from WWII, the same flag soldiers from that base fought under back then.

    No resolution in Belbek as of yet.

  13. 13
    jenn says:

    @Joseph Nobles: Yeah, I’m just really impressed by Ukrainian forbearance in all this. Those may have been warning shots, but it’s not a sure-thing that those being shot at are going to *know* that.

  14. 14
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @jenn: Another reporter on Twitter says the Russian soldiers said something about shooting the Ukrainians in the legs if they had to. Could just be individual bravado, though.

    And Al Jazeera just said that an Egyptian court has banned Hamas from any activity in Egypt and ordered its local assets to be seized. So the race to who’s going to set the world on fire first still has no clear gold medalist.

  15. 15
    Warren Terra says:

    I like and respect Mark Kleiman, but:
    1) “Shatterproof” is a dumb, dumb name. Kleiman says it’s modeled on on the American Heart Association – but one of the virtues of the American Heart Association is that you can tell from its name what it is. This matters!
    2) Is “modeled on the AHA” a good thing? The AHA does a lot of good public-policy and advocacy work, but it’s my impression that they mostly claim to collect money for research, and while the areas of Biology I’ve worked in have never gotten too close to their prime interests there have been some overlaps, and I’ve never really heard of them as an important source of research funding, at least not for basic research – not like the American Cancer Society or any of several societies for neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders.

  16. 16
    jenn says:

    @Joseph Nobles: In a totally inconsequential thought – I rather wonder if the IOC is regretting choosing Sochi.

    I hadn’t heard that one (shooting the Ukrainians in the legs). I’m somewhat incredulous, looking at all the protests in SE Ukraine where folks are finding out the instigators are actually Russian, not ethnically Russian Ukrainians. Obviously, not all these protests can be that, but knowing that some of this has been engineered makes me wonder what proportion of them are real.

  17. 17
    Cassidy says:

    @Warren Terra: AHA does a lot of studies on the EMS side of the house.

  18. 18
    Warren Terra says:

    @jenn: The IOC’s incapacity for retrospection is rivaled only by its incapacity for introspection. Remember, they were run by a fascist well into the modern era, they cracked down hard on suggestions of displays of political awareness, social consciousness, and even mourning for the dead at Sochi, etcetera. Did they ever apologize to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, after the 1968 Mexico City games? Did they ever show any awareness of the massacres the state committed in the same city, ten days before those games? I could go on …
    A bit more than two years from now, three of the last five Olympic Games will have been the sites of and causes of massive corruption and human rights abuses; each of the next three World Cups will be staged on the sites of and be the causes of massive human rights abuses and corruption. The amoral people running the IOC and FIFA have never seemed to be bothered, but recently it seems they actually revel in their inhumanity.

    PS It’s the USOC, not the IOC, but one of my favorite Olympics Skulduggery stories is about Jim Thorpe. He was disqualified so that his titles could be given to a more appropriately blueblooded American, by a process that ignored the rules set forth before the Games. Undaunted, the USOC insisted for many decades that no copy of the rules could be found; decades after Thorpe’s death, a researcher found the rules in the USOC’s files, and proved Thorpe had been railroaded. The USOC apologized – 7 decades after the fact, and 3 decades after Thorpe died.

  19. 19
    Warren Terra says:

    @Cassidy: Good to know. So far as I can tell (I don’t often interact with vascular biology), their presence on the basic-science side is negligible.

  20. 20
    jenn says:

    @Warren Terra: Yes, but there’s the teeny fact Russia’s invaded another country WHILE the Olympics is going on. That’s a little different than the usual IOC convenient blindness.

  21. 21
    Warren Terra says:

    No, they waited almost exactly a week in the name of decency, didn’t they?

  22. 22
    jenn says:

    @Warren Terra: Actually the paralympics haven’t finished yet.

  23. 23
    bjacques says:

    Check out the Guardian liveblog of Putin’s speech. Hejust now officially threw Yanukovych under the bus. And called shenanigans on the EU loan package that required severe austerity. Yatsenyuk is Ukraine’s George Osborne.

  24. 24
    Botsplainer says:

    In domestic relations, I deal with people’s substance abuse issues on a weekly basis. Some who have addiction issues are what I call high functioning (meaning that they remain basically capable of performing the tasks required for daily independent living, and can maintain employment together with some of their social and family relationships). Of course, there is that other group that is completely off the rails. Getting the first group back on track has a fair record of success – catch them early enough and they’ll decide to not risk what they have.

    Anecdotally, I estimate that the second group (the folks that completely alienate family and friends by the multiple disasters, crises and arguments) might have a cure rate of 1 in 20, at best. Just yesterday, a guy was telling me about how his wife had done three in patient rehabs (including a 90 day stint last summer) along with five intensive outpatient periods, and she’s back to drinking – so he’s done.

  25. 25
    MazeDancer says:


    Not addressing poverty and underlying causes does indeed scream this is for middle/upper class people.

    People take drugs and drink for many reasons, but frequently it is an attempt to blot out pain. For Veterans, this is often PTSD kind of pain. PTSD from childhood abuse is another. As in childhood demons kind of pain. Getting sober doesn’t make the pain go away. Big time, expert therapy is required.

    If prisons are any barometer, Childhood abuse may be the number one cause of addiction. Emotional, physical, and sexual childhood abuse – by parents or relatives not unknown predators – may be as heart-breakingly prevelant among rich, white people as any group of Americans, but it is unlikely to be discussed or addressed in the public manner needed.

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    They don’t even start until this weekend. I think there’s usually a gap of a couple of weeks between the end of the Olympics and the start of the Paralympics.

  27. 27
    Hawes says:

    Shatterproof really is a dumb name.

    But it might be a good idea, as long as they don’t come up with a damned ribbon. Unlike heart disease or cancer, people with addiction are presumed to be at fault. We probably cut smokers with lung diseases more slack than we cut addicts.

    So if all they do is try to change the perception surrounding addiction, they could be useful.

  28. 28
    Aimai says:

    Sounds more like the begginning of the susan g komen grift, to me. Relentless cheerleading and fund raising with a total refusal to look at law, poverty, and the environment.

  29. 29
    chuck says:

    Oh, thanks goodness there are commenters here who understand that addiction is a manifestation of other issues and not a disease in and of itself.

    Shatterproof looks like another big fraud.

  30. 30
    Cassidy says:

    @Warren Terra: Their big push is early action for cardiac arrest. AHA 2010 guidelines are the current standard for BLS and some places won’t take your CPR Provider cert if it isn’t AHA; this includes Red Cross.

  31. 31
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    I’m curious to know how the commenters who insist that addiction is invariably a reflection of other psychiatric difficulties explain alcoholics and other drug addicts who do really, really well after getting treatment for their substance use.

  32. 32
    Biscuits says:


    This. The physical addiction is only one aspect of the problem. Once my significant other got sober, the real problems started to become apparent. The mental and emotional health of addicts needs more emphasis I think.

  33. 33
    jenn says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yes. My point was that they are part of the Olympics, they aren’t done yet, thereby during the Olympic period Russia is invading another country, which is something the IOC may regard a little differently than Warren had suggested.

  34. 34
    aimai says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor: Its not necessary to take such a totalizing perspective, is it? People are talking about their real experience with (some) drug and alcohol addicts and making the case that this is a significant portion of the population. I think its pretty clear that its not the entire population and that there are some people who are simply genetically predisposed towards addiction who may clean up and have no problems, and still others who may not actually be all that addicted and clean up and have no problems. Some people who are massively obese have an eating disorder, and some people have a thyroid condition–it depends on the person which therapy is going to be appropriate, and which maintenance form.

    I have a cousin who is nuts–bipoloar or whatever he had some kind of massive mental breakdown, or a series, in his twenties and thirties. He’s fineish now. But he destroyed the relationships he had during that time with his wife and children. He’s recovered, but he faces an entirely new world, a world that is quite unpleasant and problematic given that he destroyed those earlier relationships. I personally think that he had little incentive to start taking his meds and facing reality when he realized, early on, that his old life had been destroyed. The process of coming out of his thrall to his medical issues was delayed for a long time because he couldn’t face dealing with the wreckage. I have no doubt that a lot of addicts are in the same boat.

  35. 35
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:


    Its not necessary to take such a totalizing perspective, is it?

    Not at all, which is why I was wondering why others insisted on doing so.

  36. 36
    Paul in KY says:

    ‘Shatter’ is slang for a form of butane hash oil.

  37. 37
    Paul in KY says:

    @Warren Terra: Lot of that was due to Avery Brundage. He was a real POS.

  38. 38
    cthulhu says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor: First of all, all forms of dependence, non-drug/alcohol as well, are considered psychiatric disorders with underlying neurobiological mechanisms. The prevalence of other concurrent psychological diagnoses is very high. Treatment is generally long term and relapse is very common often because of underlying partially or untreated disorders or lack of change in cues and motivation for continued use.

    It is important to understand that to get a drug or alcohol dependence diagnosis you have to have suffered some serious and consistent negative consequences of your behavior: health, economic, legal, social, etc. So sure, their are some otherwise psychologically healthy people, usually with a lot of resources, who “sensation seek” a bit too much, get in trouble and get completely “cured”. But for a lot of people, the drug and alcohol dependence is a symptom of another disorder (or several) – you might be able to treat the symptom (you certainly can by locking them up) but they are often not much better off.

  39. 39
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @cthulhu: Thanks for explaining, succinctly, how it’s complicated. These are medical issues – “mental” illness is a physical illness as opposed to a weakness. And dependence disorders are psychiatric disorders with underlying neurobiological mechanisms. There’s a huge incidence of co-morbid other psychiatric disorders, some of which may in fact kindle the dependence, but not all do.

    Oh and can we please not refer to people with psychiatric disorders as “nuts”? It’s pretty demeaning.

  40. 40
    Cassidy says:

    I am always amused by the passion with which absolutes are declared, especially in psychology and medicine, when the subject matter experts themselves would hesitate to make those declarations themselves. Perhaps the brain stew if opinionated ignorance, blogs, and too much daytime television is a mental illness of some sort.

  41. 41
    chuck says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor:

    Treatment has pretty much been shown to be no more effective than individual remission.

  42. 42
    chuck says:


    Thank you for identifying it with a SBK grift. I actually feel the same way about Eva Moskowitz and her charter school scam, which just seems like a great way for her to make a shitload of money.

  43. 43
    hells littlest angel says:

    As others have said, dumb name. Also, while I have no reason to assume it is a bullshit organization, “Shatterproof” is the kind of name a bullshit organization would come up with.

  44. 44
    Thursday says:

    Extreme wariness is pretty much my starting point with these programs. Anyone else here read “Help at Any Cost” by Maia Szalavitz? I don’t normally think about such programs, but it was utterly chilling.

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