Maureen Palmer on addiction, empathy and compassionate evidence-based care

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Maureen Palmer on Addiction, Empathy and Compassionate Based Evidence Care

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Maureen talks about her new film Wasted, alcoholism, compassionate evidence-based care, why she might have too much empathy and how the world of medicine is changing when it comes to treating addiction.

Film Trailer

Film Synopsis

Filmmaker Maureen Palmer set out to make a documentary following her partner Mike Pond -- a psychotherapist and an alcoholic five years sober -- as he searched for the best new evidence-based addiction treatments. The intent was to help others battling substance use disorders. But to the couple's shock and dismay, shortly after filming began, Mike drank again. In Wasted, Mike and Maureen's attitudes and assumptions about addiction are tested in real time as the couple search for a treatment that will work for Mike. A theoretical journey becomes very real and deeply personal.

There is urgency to their quest. Mike had already suffered one life-threatening trip to rock bottom; he likely wouldn't survive another. In his past life, Mike spent two decades as a successful therapist in Penticton, B.C., helping others battle addiction. Then he succumbed to one himself. Mike lost his practice, his home and his family to alcoholism, ending up homeless on Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside.

In Wasted, a one-hour documentary from Bountiful Films, Mike and Maureen discover a revolution in addiction research and treatment. They reveal tantalizing clues to what causes addiction and focus on compassionate evidence-based treatments that pick up where AA leaves off.


After two award-winning decades at the CBC, where she held senior producer positions in both radio and television, Palmer left in 2000 to series produce for American broadcasters TLC and the Discovery Channel. Shortly after, she and partner Helen Slinger formed Bountiful Films.

The duo has produced a string of powerful and critically acclaimed hit documentaries. Maureen's most recent writing and directing credits include How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids, Cat Crazed, Sext Up Kids (forDream Street Pictures), and Angry Kids & Stressed Out Parents -- all for CBC's Doc Zone.

Maureen is also an accomplished Lifestyle and Factual producer/writer/director. Sample credits include the pilot for The Food Network's Glutton for Punishment, The Week the Women Went for CBC Television, and Border Security, for National Geographic and Global TV.

Read about or purchase the book Wasted here.

Read more about Bountiful Films here.


 or more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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