NEW YORK, November 20, 2019 – Center on Addiction, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming the way the nation addresses addiction, raised over $2 million at its annual gala to empower families with the support, tools and guidance they need to address their loved one’s substance use. The event took place on November 19 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City. Sutton Foster, two-time Tony Award-winning actress, star of TV Land’s “Younger” and of the upcoming Broadway production of “The Music Man” served as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
The gala drew nearly 500 guests, including corporate leaders, notable personalities in media, finance, theatre and entertainment, along with parents and families who have been impacted by substance use and addiction.
Center on Addiction merged with Partnership for Drug-Free Kids earlier this year, uniting two long-standing organizations in the field of public health and addiction. The gala, the nonprofit’s largest fundraiser, celebrated the organization’s achievements toward empowering families, advancing effective care and shaping policies that treat addiction as a health issue.
“Our nation is facing one of its greatest public health crises – an addiction epidemic,” said Jamie Niven, Chairman of the Board for Center on Addiction. “Addiction is a disease that is both preventable and treatable – and recovery is possible. This evening reminds us that we have so much important work to do. The good news is that we know what needs to be done. And we are doing it together.”
“This was a momentous night for us; it was the first time we have come together as one organization to honor those who make our work possible,” said Creighton Drury, CEO of Center on Addiction. “We will continue working tirelessly to break down the stigma that has prevented far too many Americans from getting the help they need. Along with our partners and supporters, we will use our research, tools, and leadership to transform the way our nation views and treats addiction.”
Center on Addiction honored corporate citizens CVS Health and Viacom with distinguished awards for their support of the organization’s work. CVS Health President and CEO, Larry J. Merlo, and Viacom Chief Operating Officer, Ad Solutions and Executive Vice President, John Halley, accepted the awards on behalf of their companies.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Terry DeMio received a special tribute award as part of the evening’s program. DeMio is the heroin epidemic reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer and is committed to telling powerful stories about the country’s addiction epidemic, with a focus on heroin and opioids.
Kathy Strain, a mom who serves as a parent coach for Center on Addiction, shared her family’s personal story providing an intimate perspective around a family’s journey with this disease. Parent coaches are specially trained parent volunteers who have firsthand experience addressing a child’s substance use. They donate their time to help other families in similar circumstances. Strain described how her children have faced opioid addiction and told the crowd about her family’s experience finding help and treatment.
“I owe much of the strength and courage that I have found to Center on Addiction, and to the supportive, caring people who are the backbone of this organization,” said Strain. “Through the parent coaching program, I learned how to care for me, and how to live life again.”