The Dirty Secret of Substance Abuse in Public Safety

Substance Abuse in Public Safety

In Substance Abuse in Public Safety I was fortunate to have a conversation with my good friend Hank. Not only did Hank and I talk about the hardship faced by all who swear an oath to protect, respond and treat those who call 911, but we also broke new ground for the KEV Talks Podcast: We put together a full YouTube video podcast!

“According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, as many as 40% of EMTs engage in high-risk alcohol and drug use and as many as 29% of firefighters report criteria for alcohol abuse. First responders acknowledge problem drinking behaviors at rates higher than the national average (roughly 6-7%).” From

In this episode my good friend Henry “Hank” Smith and I catch up a bit, share his story, then get into the well-known but often overlooked issue: substance abuse in Public Safety.

UPDATED 11/14/2022: NOW Live on all major podcast platforms

Key timestamps:

  • 0:00 Reunited…and it feels so good
  • 01:48 Hank’s story begins
  • 12:26 First cardiac arrest call
  • 19:50 Sharing his story
  • 28:35 Where there’s smoke
  • 38:37 Putting the article together
  • 50:00 Looking inward
  • 01:05:00 Public Safety Progress
  • 01:11:55 Know you’re not alone

*To contact Hank and learn more about him or book time with him to share the Substance Abuse in Public Safety presentation contact him at or on Instagram @henry.smith.804

** Read Hank’s article here (pgs. 11 & 12)

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Kevin Pannell, PMP | Founder of KPannell Productions, LLC | Creator & Host of the KEV Talks Podcast | Principal on the @Pannell5Fit and KEV Talks YouTube Channels

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