Books, Podcast

Tandy Culpepper Talks to Susan Bartz Herrick about Her Gripping Mother-Son Memoir, Slow Dancing with the Devil

In 2021 alone, more than 60 thousand of the 80 thousand overdose deaths in the United States were due to opiods. One of those who died was 30-year-old  Robert “Luke” Paschal, whose mother, Susan Bartz Herrick, has penned the mother-son memoir, Slow Dancing with the Devil: A Son’s Substance Use Disorder, A Mother’s Anguish.

In it, Herrick chronicles a catastrophic car crash that very nearly killed her son, Luke, who was airlifted to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to repair both his crushed chest and broken back. Numerous internal organs were also damaged.

Following his release from the hospital, Luke was prescribed oxycontin for pain management, and therein began Luke’s growing dependence on the drug, despite the fact that the drug’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, claimed that the drug had an extraordinarily low risk for addiction.

Herrick’s book is exhaustively researched. In fact, it reads like a primer for people living with substance use disorder and for their families and caretakers.

Tandy Culpepper talks with Susan about Luke and about her efforts to educate herself about the devil called substance use disorder. 

Published by Tandy Culpepper

I am a veteran broadcast journalist. I was an Army brat before my father retired and moved us to the deep South. I'm talkin' Lower Alabama and Northwest Florida, I graduated from Tate High School and got botha Bachelor's degree and Master's in Teaching English from the University of West Florida, I taught English at Escambia County High School for two years before getting my m's in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Auburn University. Following graduation, I did a 180 degree turn and moved to Birmingham where I began ny broadcasting career at WBIQ, Channel 10. There I was host of a weekly primetime half-hour TV program called Alabama Lifestyles. A year later, I began a stint as a television weathercaster and public affairs host. A year later, I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida and became bureau chief at WPTV, the CBS affiliate. Two years later, I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina where I became co-host of a morng show called AM Carolina. The next year, I moved cross-country and became co-host and story producer at KTVN-TV in Reno, Nevada. I also became the medical reporter for the news department. Three years later, I moved to Louisville, Kentucky and became host and producer of a morning show called today in WAVE Country at WAVE-TV, Channel 3, the NBC affiliate. Following three years there, I moved to Los Angeles and became senior correspondent at the Turner Entertainment Reportn, an internationally-syndicated entertainment entertainment news service owned by CNN. I went back to school afterwards and got an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. Oh, yes. I won a hundred thousand dollars on the 100 Thousand Dollar Pyramid, then hosted by Dick Clark.

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