Since 1999, we have seen a six-fold increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths each year and a staggering total of nearly 400,000 lives lost.1
For families struggling with a loved one’s substance use, whether it is prescription pain medicine, heroin or other opioids, these numbers are terrifying, overwhelming and discouraging. When they reach out to the Partnership, they are desperate for help and frantic that their child might become the next statistic.
Our Helpline staff and Parent Coaches assure families that there is hope of recovery and that they are not alone in their journey to find help for their child. Our trained and caring specialists listen and offer one-on-one help, assist in developing an action plan and connect families to science-based tools and resources.
These support services for families are a central component of the Medicine Abuse Project. Through this multi-year initiative that encompasses direct services; communication campaigns; and community initiatives, we are committed to driving down overdose deaths.
Download the full report to read more on the activities and successes of the Medicine Abuse Project in 2019.
To help meet the increasing need for personalized support and family services in the midst of today’s opioid epidemic, and thanks to the support of Google and other generous funders, we extended the hours of our Helpline to Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. EDT – 12:00 a.m. EDT and continue to offer weekend hours on from 12:00 p.m. EDT – 5:00 p.m. EDT.
The Helpline is staffed by our trained and caring Parent Support Specialists who are ready to listen, help parents find answers and make an action plan for their child. Our specialists offer parents and caregivers the support and resources needed to care for a loved one who is struggling with substances. Families can connect with the Helpline via the website, drugfree.org, by phone at 855-378-4373, through texting a message to 55753 and Facebook Messenger. Help is available in English and Spanish.
After first connecting with our Helpline, many families find support through the Partnership’s Parent Coaching program, which now boasts more than 300 volunteer Parent Coaches nationwide. Families in this program are matched with another parent or family member who has lived experience with their own child’s substance use. This peer-to-peer coaching offers families the support of someone who can offer guidance from a personal perspective. Parents learn how to stay connected to their loved one and receive encouragement from someone who has walked in their shoes.
We hosted several Parent Coach trainings across the country in 2018, thanks to our partners: Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA) in Salt Lake City, UT; Hope Sheds Light in Toms River, NJ; Prevention Links in Roselle, NJ; Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA; Pennsylvania Parent Panel Advisory Council in Harrisburg, PA; PreventionFirst! in Norwood, OH; the TASC Community Grant Initiative in Phoenix, AZ.
In 2018, two TV PSAs encouraged parents and caregivers to take action and not hesitate to reach out for help for their child who is struggling with substance use. Both spots featured real parents whose children faced an addiction to prescription opioids.
Upon discovering his son was misusing prescription pills, David stated, “I felt like a failure, as many parents do, but the problem was bigger than him. He needed help so I confronted it.” His son has been in recovery for a few years now.
Justina ultimately lost her son Ronnie when he was just 19 years old. In her PSA, she tearfully advises other parents, “Try not to be too proud to reach out for help. Don’t be worried about what your neighbor or family will think, just get the child the help they need.”
Both PSAs end with the tag line, “There’s hope and help at drugfree.org.” The PSAs aired in conjunction with the Partnership’s larger parent testimonial campaign, across both national and local TV.