Serving nearby areas by Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, Florida



            Over the next few weeks, this blog will focus on examining the social stigma associated with substance use disorder that pervades society. At the individual level, people often fail to recognize their prejudicial attitudes or discriminating behavior towards individuals who have been diagnosed with a medically established brain disorder.   These attitudes prevent an understanding of how substance use disorders effects on the quality of daily living. Stigma also has a detrimental effect on treatment outcomes, and so hinders efficient and effective recovery from substance use disorder.

            Allow me to editorialize for a moment: I don’t think people are inherently bad. I think people generally would agree that social stigma, especially unwarranted, is not productive. I think, often, those that share guilt in perpetuating stigma associated with SUD do not even realize they are doing it. And if they do, they don’t understand the degree of harm being caused…Which brings me to my next point: many people do not understand the nature of this disease. They are unaware of the chemical effect that substances can have on one’s brain or that it’s even a brain disease to begin with. Without seeing or experiencing the complete loss of control brought on by SUD—even in the face of continuous and catastrophic consequences—people find it difficult to understand why someone can’t “just stop.”

The obvious solution to this problem (easily identifiable, though far more difficult to effectively execute) is education and awareness. I can think of few persons better to articulate the effects that SUD has on the brain than the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow. Thus, the following is a link to a video/transcript of her presentation, “Addiction: A Disease of Free Will”:


 At Romano Law Group, Rainer Boggiano is focused on representing plaintiffs in catastrophic injury matters, including wrongful death, negligence, medical malpractice, and products liability litigation.

Rainer earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville, Florida and his Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

While attending law school, Rainer served as a judicial extern at Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal and a legal intern for ADT Security Services at its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton. He graduated with multiple Dean’s List honors and was a Pro Bono Award recipient in recognition for completing 150+ hours of community service. Currently, he is assisting with the Pro Bono work on behalf of the Florida Association of Recovery Residences.

Rainer is active in several community organizations, having served as a volunteer for the 15th Judicial Circuit’s Guardian ad Litem Program, a tutor at the Mandel Public Library’s homework center, and a mentor for several local non-profit organizations.



Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools.

During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts.  She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force.  Susan is Pro Bono Counsel for the Florida Association of Recovery Residences.

Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional product liability and medical negligence.