Mar 8, 2021
Jessie Dunleavy is the author of a newly released
memoir, Cover My Dreams in Ink, the story of her
son Paul's life. The memoir portrays Paul’s uphill battle with
disabilities and Jessie's fight to ensure Paul had an appropriate
education and suitable health care. In addition, the book details
the fight for Paul's life as he entered the harrowing world of
Furthermore, Jessie shares what she's learned as
a result of raising a child with differences. Also, she talks about
the tragic overlay of failed systems that too often short-change
the most vulnerable among us. Ultimately, Paul's death was
preventable, and Jessie has become a staunch advocate for drug
policy reform. Also, she’s committed to helping others who cope
with the challenges of a substance use disorder, as well as the
loss of a child. She’s also dedicated to fighting the stigma that
has crippled needed reform.
In this interview we talk about the need for
legislative change in addressing the overdose crisis and the
impediments to getting legislation introduced and passed. Also,
Jessie reads some of Paul's writings. Have a tissue handy as you
listen to this interview but listen to it. Finally, we need you. We
need everyone to be as educated on this topic as possible and to
advocate for change.
- First, Jessie explains why she's passionate about
advocating for legislative change.
- Her son, Paul, died of a heroin and fentanyl
overdose in 2017 at age 34.
- Paul's addiction started in his early 20s.
- Addiction is a relapsing condition and Paul
relapsed several times.
- Unfortunately relapse is viewed as a failure.
- Too many treatment facilities don't offer all of
the needed services.
- Next, Emily asks Jessie what advice she'd give to
parents whose children are using drugs.
- Coerced treatment isn't effective.The person has to
be ready for treatment.
- The addicts need love and support. Further shaming
them isn't helpful.
- Also, parents need help too and shouldn't feel
- Abstinence isn't the only goal per Jessie. In fact
methadone can save lives.
- Know how to seek effective treatment and find a
center that will provide options and explain the data.
- Jessie explains the difference between the US and
other countries in terms of treatment of addicts.
- We should embrace harm reduction and effective
- Jessie talks about harm reduction for drug users;
for example, clean syringes.
- The United States is behind the curve, when
compared to other countries, in several areas regarding addressing
the opioid crisis.
- The stigma is keeping legislators from passing
needed laws because their constituents tend to not support
- Furthermore, Paul was on the upswing at the time he
- Next, Jessie explains the circumstances surrounding
- Suboxone prolongs life yet, many people look down
on the use of Suboxone and there are restrictions on prescribing
- Jessie talks about her book: Cover My Dreams in
- Paul was an incredibly talented poet.
- Cover My Dreams in Ink is a line from one of Paul’s
- Jessie reads Paul's poem: Pleading with Gravity.
Make sure you have a tissue handy.
- We all make mistakes. There is no perfect
- Emily asks Jessie what she learned about herself in
writing the book.
- Jessie has a close relationship with her daughter
and shares how her son's situation impacted her daughter.
- Next, Jessie reads another of Paul's writings.
- One of Paul's disabilities was a hand tremor and
because of that, he got really frustrated when writing.
- Finally Emily asks Jessie what advice she wants to
share with the listeners regarding legislation to address the