The Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping families whose son or daughter is struggling with substance use, are collaborating to close a gap in desperately needed support for parents.
Many parents don’t know where to turn for guidance when their adolescent or young adult develops a substance use disorder. Despite the research on how impactful caregiver support is in improving adolescent and young adult substance use outcomes, it is rarely part of formal care, leaving families to struggle alone. New resources launched today by BMC’s Grayken Center and the Partnership, will offer evidence-based support and guidance so Massachusetts families have the tools and information they need at a critical time in their lives.
Parents will be able to access help from trained parent support specialists either online or over the phone. Since talking with other parents who have faced similar challenges can be especially valuable, families in need of help can get more in depth problem-solving over the phone from trained parent coaches, whose own family has experienced addiction. Parents learn evidence-based skills and receive advice on approaches to addressing a child’s substance use disorder - proven strategies that increase the chances of recovery and overall better outcomes for the family.
These resources are free and available to anyone in the state who is concerned about their child or young adult. This initiative is also being promoted by media partners in a public service announcement campaign that begins today on TV, radio and print outlets across the state.
Parents and caregivers in Massachusetts will be able to access services and resources, both over the phone and online in the following ways:
A Partnership and Grayken Center website – graykenaddictionsupport.org – highlights details on resources and tools Massachusetts families can access
A dedicated phone and text Helpline for Massachusetts families (call 844-319-5999 or text HOPEMA to 55753), where parents can connect with bi-lingual, master’s level specialists and be referred to parent coaches, who will listen to their challenges and help them develop an action plan toward their child’s recovery
“Young adults are among the most vulnerable populations at risk of addiction and overdose deaths in this epidemic that has touched every community in our state,” said Michael Botticelli, the executive director of BMC’s Grayken Center for Addiction and the former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Obama Administration. “One of the Grayken Center’s priority goals is to close the gap in support for parents, as well as in treatment and prevention for young adults. This initiative will equip parents with much needed resources that will help them work together with their children to find a path toward recovery.”
Nationally, more than 63,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2016, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a rate of 174 overdose deaths per day. In Massachusetts, nearly 2,000 people died of an overdose last year, the state Department of Public Health reported. In addition, about one in five of the 65,000 nonfatal overdoses in the state between 2011 and 2015 was a young adult.
“We are so grateful to collaborate with the Grayken Center on this important project to serve Massachusetts families,” said Fred Muench, President and CEO of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Merging the Partnership’s national family service infrastructure with local expertise and resources enhances the reach and impact of both organizations. With limited funding for the families of a loved one who is struggling with addiction, this collaboration can serve as a model to improve support for families in need across the country.”
Joanne Peterson, the founder and executive director of Learn to Cope, an organization dedicated to helping families struggling with addiction, echoes the impact that these new services will have on families in Massachusetts. “We are pleased to see that more, much-needed resources are going to be available, which will provide support and guidance for parents who are struggling with how best to help their child – and the entire family – on their path to recovery.”
Beginning today, public service announcements featuring parent coach and volunteer Paul Kusiak of Beverly will be seen on TV, radio and print outlets across Massachusetts, thanks to the generosity of Massachusetts media.
“We are very excited that this collaboration will provide parents with much-needed resources under one umbrella, including evidence-based alternatives to ‘tough love’ and ‘detaching,’ and we look forward to strengthening the efforts that others are making statewide,” said Kusiak. “There is also a wealth of information that will benefit entire communities. By removing stigma and teaming together more lives can be saved, more families can heal, and more young people can realize their true potential.”