Having to break the law in order to get her son medical treatment opened the eyes of Mom and Attorney Colleen A. Cowles to the dysfunction and deadly harm of our punitive approach to ‘treating’ addiction. This experience fueled her research, advocacy and work with other families to answer the questions ‘How did we get here?’ and ‘What can we do that will actually solve the addiction and overdose epidemic’? She is author of the online course ’20 Steps to Freedom: A Parent’s Guide to Addiction’ and the book ‘War on Us: How the War on Drugs and Myths About Addiction Have Created a War on All of Us’.
Colleen is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and attorney. She focused her practice on tax, business and estate planning and built a legal software company that was ultimately sold to Thomson-Reuters.
Sometimes direction in life is not pre-planned. Personal experience with addiction in the family and working with clients whose families were impacted gave Cowles intimate insight into the criminal justice and treatment worlds.  Science and medicine give us solutions, but traditional approaches often ignore these advances and sometimes prohibit their application. Colleen now uses her legal and training background to educate families about evidence-based solutions, and to advocate for change in drug policy and treatment alternatives.
Cowles founded SYCA, LLC (www.SurviveYourChildsAddiction.com) to help parents to cope and to support children struggling with addiction, and War on Us (www.WarOnUs.com), a website and organization focused on criminal justice reform to transition policy regarding addiction from a legal to a medical and scientific approach.
Colleen enjoys time with her family, is an avid traveller and enjoys writing and photography. She lives with her husband of 42 years, and enjoys sitting on her deck in Wisconsin, watching her two horses run in the pasture.