With so many exciting initiatives, 2017 was a year of new campaigns, innovative, digital efforts and the expansion of our customized, direct services for the parents and families we help. We are proud to share the year’s highlights with you.
We named our new President and CEO, Fred Muench, a father of two and a clinical psychologist with extensive knowledge and understanding of substance use disorders. Fred is also a leader in leveraging digital platforms to help ensure that families have better outcomes for a loved one struggling with an addiction.
We began the year with a unique collaboration with Hearst Television on the series “State of Addiction,” which provided viewers with much needed information on the opioid epidemic. The project also involved interactive Facebook Live sessions with counselors, a documentary featuring reports from around the country and much more about the opioid crisis in the U.S.
In order to make it as easy as possible for families to access our resources quickly and efficiently, we enhanced and improved our website early in the year. We joined Facebook Messenger so that our Helpline counselors will be even more available for families in need. We also hosted our first Facebook Live event with David Sheff, The New York Times best-selling author of “Beautiful Boy,” who was able to share his personal story and answer some of your questions.
More Parent Coaches were trained throughout the year, with training programs held in Dayton, Ohio and in Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee. Our newly trained coaches will provide one-on-one support to other parents hoping to help a loved one through their substance use.
Our Chief Policy Officer Marcia Lee Taylor testified in D.C. before the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in June to detail the power of parents and families in this epidemic.
We collaborated with IGA USA, the world’s largest voluntary supermarket network, and IGA supported our cause by raising funds and awareness in their stores.
Though the Parity Act passed 10 years ago, its enforcement, which should mandate that health insurance standards for substance use be comparable to the standard for other medical benefits, has been extraordinarily lacking. We joined Legal Action Center, The Kennedy Forum, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and the Research & Evaluation Group at Public Health Management Corporation to launch the Parity@10 Compliance Campaign. The campaign’s mission is to jumpstart the enforcement of the Act, beginning in Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and expanding to other states in subsequent years.
We ended 2017 with our annual Winter Wish Gala, hosted by Elizabeth Vargas, Award-Winning ABC News Anchor of “20/20” and author of “Between Breaths.” The event highlighted our direct services and programs and featured the stories of some very special parent coaches and volunteers.