On August 19, 2015 we received a call that informed us our youngest son, Jonathan, had died of a heroin overdose. We were devastated, but soon our devastation turned into a determination that we would do everything we possibly could to make sure no parent would have to suffer like we did. When we first started, we never imagined this loss would give us an opportunity to touch the lives of so many people.
We soon discovered that the problem of opioid addiction touches nearly every community in our state and country, and that many families had stories similar to ours. You see, addiction doesn’t care whether you’re rich or poor, black or white, young or old – addiction can touch anyone. Through this life-changing event, we found ourselves reaching out to users, as well as friends and families of those suffering with addictions.
From our own experience with Jonathan and talking to countless parents, friends, and loved ones throughout the country, we know that the problem of substance abuse is too big for one family to solve. The good news is that no one has to go it alone. If every mother, father, brother, sister, friend, and neighbor who has known someone who has battled addiction comes together, we can make our voice heard and find solutions to these problems.
Our goal with ROAR is to build that community of change agents to speak with one voice and advocate for real change. To do this, we need to build relationships with policy experts, lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and the general public. No one understands addiction and its causes better than the people who have lived through it, and our voice must be part of the national conversation around substance abuse.
If you have been affected in any way by addiction – whether as a user or a friend or family member of a user – we want you with us in this fight. If you’re a politician, police officer, academic, or simply just a concerned citizen who hates to see fellow Americans needlessly suffering, we want you with us in this fight.