Mothers from the Moms United to End the War on Drugs National Campaign Speak Out About the Family Devastation and Loss Caused by the War on Drugs.
Moms United launches the “The Empty Chair at the Holiday Table” Video Campaign, and actions taken between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Moms Are Available to Discuss Personal Experience with Drug War.
A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and moms from around the country shares their stories of loss and photos during the holidays, calling for an end to the war on drugs, which has been so disastrous to our families. Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the war on drugs, including having a child who suffers from addictive illness and has been repeatedly incarcerated, a child who has died from preventable drug overdoses, a child who has died due to drug war violence.
Moms United has been gathering photos containing 3 elements: a chair with a picture of a lost or missing loved one and a sign with one of these statements: incarceration, accidental overdose, drug war violence, or stigma. These photos were collected and became part of a growing quilt of personal stories of loss. This year Moms United has created a moving and poignant video featuring these haunting pictures.
Moms United is asking mothers and others to take action during this difficult holiday season in three ways:
“The Holidays are a particularly painful time for families who are separated because of a loved one’s incarceration, whose young person is lost on the streets due to drug problems, whose children are in danger because of drug war violence, or who have lost a loved one to accidental overdose.” Gretchen Burns Bergman
“The empty place at the table is a powerful metaphor for the incredible void that permeates my life during the holidays and all year long because my son lost his life to drug prohibition violence.” Joy Strickland
“Going through metal detectors and strip searches to visit my son in prison on Thanksgiving and Christmas convinced me that punitive drug policies tear families apart.” Julia Negron
“My son died of an accidental overdose in 2008. The emptiness is everywhere. The Holidays bring nothing but pain.” Denise Cullen
The Moms United campaign mission is to “end the violence, mass incarceration and overdose deaths that are a result of current punitive and discriminatory drug policies. We are building a movement to stop the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs or who are addicted to drugs. We are urgently calling for health-oriented strategies and widespread drug policy reform in order to stop the irresponsible waste of dollars and resources, and the devastating loss of lives and liberty.”
Leaders of the Moms United campaign from around the country include: Gretchen Burns Bergman (San Diego, CA), the mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and repeated incarceration; Julia Negron (Florida), a mother of a son whose son served several prison terms for drug possession; Denise Cullen (Palm Desert, CA), a social worker specializing in grief counseling, whose son died from an overdose five years ago, Joyce Rivera (New York, NY) who founded St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction in the Bronx and is the sister of an injection drug user who died of HIV/ AIDS, Kathie Kane-Willis (Chicago, Illinois), Director Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy Roosevelt University, Charmie Gholson (Michigan), Director of Michigan Moms United, and Joy Strickland (Dallas, Texas), who lost her son to teen violence.
Moms United to End the War on Drugs is a project of San Diego-based A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing), a 14-year old nonprofit organization that works to reduce the stigma associated with addictive illness through education and compassionate support, and to advocate for therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies.
Join us and follow the campaign on Facebook – Moms United to End the War on Drugs. For more information: www.momsunited.net or www.anewpathsite.org
To schedule interviews: firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-670-1184
Moms United to End the War on Drugs Launches a new campaign: “Ask Mom...How to Save a Life”
Moms Across the Country Are Demanding Greater Access to Naloxone, which can reverse an accidental Overdose in honor of Mother’s Day
Moms From California, New York, Florida and Texas Share Their Personal Experience with Drug War Damage and Call for Harm Reduction Strategies
Mothers from around the country are devoting Mother’s Day and the month of May to a campaign for greater awareness and access to naloxone, a safe, nonnarcotic drug that can reverse an accidental opiate overdose. They are telling their personal stories of drug war damage with video stories, articles and interviews.
More than 100 people are dying in the United States each day from accidental overdose. Tragically, many of these deaths could have been prevented. Mothers feel it their right and responsibility to have naloxone readily available, because often mothers are the first ones to witness an overdose and every moment counts in saving a life.
Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the war on drugs, including having children who suffer from addiction and who have been repeatedly incarcerated, or have died from preventable drug overdoses and other drug related problems.
Moms were the driving force in repealing alcohol prohibition in the 30’s and now Moms are playing a similar role in ending the war on drugs, and demanding a change from punitive prohibitionist policies to strategies that reduce the harm associated with drug use and addiction.
Mothers and Doctors are coming together to demand sciencebased, compassionate healthoriented strategies.
In honor of Mother’s Day 2014, join parents from across the nation and around the globe to make our voices heard and save precious lives. Please join the “Ask Mom” campaign by changing your Facebook icon to the “Ask Mom” logo from May 7 to the end of the month.
Link to logo:
Please promote the You Tube video, “Ask Mom...How to Save a Life” and help us demand access to naloxone to all first responders, including parents. Link to logo:
“My son is a survivor of both accidental overdose and incarceration,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman, Lead Organizer of the Moms United to End the War on Drugs Campaign. “He was one of the lucky ones. Now, he is advocating with us to help others to save precious lives.”
“My son might still be alive if he were given naloxone,” said Denise Cullen, Founder of BrokenNoMore. “When Jeff died, he was on a waiting list to enter courtordered treatment. He never had to wait to go to jail because it was too full.”
“Naloxone saved my life. Now, my son is a teenager and he is at risk,” said Maria Alexander, a member of A New PATH in Los Angeles.
“Julia Negron, a drug counselor and activist in recovery says, “I was lucky; naloxone saved my life, giving me a chance to find recovery. My little sister was not so lucky. She overdosed at 33. Naloxone could have saved her life too.”
Leaders of the campaign include Gretchen Burns Bergman (San Diego, CA), the mother of two sons who have both struggled with heroin addiction and repeated incarceration and founder of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing); Denise Cullen (Palm Desert, CA), a social worker specializing in grief counseling, whose son died from an overdose almost four years ago; Joyce Rivera (New York, NY), mother who founded St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction and is the sister of an injection drug user who died of HIV/AIDS;
Joy Strickland (Dallas, Texas), CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence, whose son was killed by drug prohibitionrelated violence; Julia Negron, a person in longterm recovery and the mother of a son who has struggled with heroin addiction; and Yolande Cadore (New York, NY), a mom and director of strategic partners at the Drug Policy Alliance.
The Moms United campaign mission is to “end the violence, mass incarceration and overdose deaths that are a result of current punitive and discriminatory drug policies. We are building a movement to stop the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs or who are addicted to drugs. We are urgently calling for healthoriented strategies and widespread drug policy reform in order to stop the irresponsible waste of dollars and resources, and the devastating loss of lives and liberty.”
Moms United to End the War on Drugs is a project of San Diegobased A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing), a 15year old nonprofit organization that works to reduce the stigma associated with addictive illness through education and compassionate support, and to advocate for therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies.
Moms United to End the War on Drugs “Ask Mom” Campaign Actions:
San Diego, California – Effective January 1, 2014 a law was enacted that makes naloxone available to community overdose prevention groups through a standing order by a physician. A New PATH is leading a collaborative campaign to train and distribute naloxone to parents and individuals at risk through a standing order by a local physician. Seven individuals have taken the trainer course, and trainings are scheduled to begin in May 7, 2014.
Orange County, California – Moms United and BrokenNoMore are organizing a naloxone
overdose prevention training at a large community college in Orange County, where the overdose rate is extremely high. The goal is to reach out to “at risk” young people, and families and friends of drug users.
Los Angeles, California – Moms are enlisting help from Kaiser Hospital and working with A New PATH and other organizations to get sober living establishments to support access and training on naloxone administration. They are sharing their own stories of overdose.
Portland, Oregon (Jackson County) passed a new law in 2013 that that makes naloxone more widely available to at risk populations and first responders. Moms United representative Claudia Little is working with legislative representatives for greater awareness and access to naloxone.
New York, NY Since 2005 St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction has distributed naloxone through the completion of nearly1000 Opioid Prevention and Response Trainings to women, a majority of whom are mothers. These women/mothers have the power to eradicate unintentional overdose death by saving their child, your child, every child.
Suncoast, Florida – Mothers have mobilized and are joining forces with statewide agencies and local coalitions to increase overdose awareness/naloxone access. They continue to educate the community, legislators and other stakeholders in the hopes of a 2015 Overdose Prevention/Naloxone access bill.
Washington D.C. – Mothers are handing out fliers during May to “at risk” populations about naloxone, to increase awareness and demand for this lifesaving drug. Announcements on Mommieactivist and sons radio show for Month of May on the Sunday Evening Weigh In. ASK MOM / Tell email@example.com.
Dallas, Texas – Moms are holding (chat room) discussion groups for May and will educate attendees about the value of naloxone in saving lives. Legislation on overdose prevention including naloxone access is part of Mother’s Against Teen Violence’s 2015 legislative agenda.
Chicago, Illinois Since 2012 mothers across the state were trained in naloxone use and are training others in how to save a life. Many mothers are doing ongoing naloxone trainings around Chicago area and downstate Illinois. One mother who lost her son to overdose has become a registered naloxone prescriber. There are now naloxone trainings, hosted by someone affected by overdose, in any given week in Illinois.
To read more about the “Ask Mom...How to Save a Life” campaign, please see the Huffington Post article, “Moms Taking Action to Save Lives,” written by Gretchen Burns Bergman:
Moms United to End the War on Drugs representatives organize events and vigils for International Overdose Awareness Day
Each Day in the United States 105 people die of Accidental Overdose A New PATH and Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign partners in the U.S. and abroad will participate in International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 and the week prior to it. These events honor and remember those who have lost their lives to an overdose. It is also an opportunity to educate policymakers and the public about the growing overdose crisis in the United States and abroad – and to offer concrete solutions that save lives. Each day 105 people die of accidental overdose in the United States.
Moms United to end the War on Drugs national partners are holding events and vigils to bring awareness to the crisis of accidental fatal overdoses. Through their “Ask Mom How to Save a Life” campaign they are providing overdose education, training and naloxone kits to prevent opioid overdose deaths. Moms are leading the charge to end the violence, mass incarceration and overdose deaths that are the result of current punitive policies.
“As a mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction, one of whom almost died of an accidental overdose, I feel it is my right and responsibility to have naloxone in my medicine cabinet, because every moment counts in saving a precious life,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman, Lead organizer of the Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign. She continues, “Why isn't naloxone made as available as an epi-pen or other common antidote? The answer is misguided moralistic judgment and ignorance about the true nature of addictive illness.”
A New PATH is holding a naloxone training and candle light vigil in San Diego on August 28, and a “Performance art meets political Action Die In” in Los Angeles on August 31. In New York, St. Anne’s Corner of Harm Reduction /La Cueva will host its Annual International Overdose Prevention Awareness Day on August 28, 2014, including a prevention and response training, art competition and candle light vigil. Mommieactivist and sons radio show will devote the hour to a weigh in on the devastation of the war on drugs, including the accidental overdose deaths that are a result of current punitive and discriminatory drug policies at 6:30pm EST on August 31 in Washington, D.C.
“Naloxone saved my life 5 times. Today, my children have a mother! Today I help others in recovery transition to self-sufficiency and regain their lives and families,” said Maria Alexander from Los Angeles. Julia Negron from Florida states that “Half of all overdoses happen at home. It’s heartbreaking to work with mothers who’ve lost kids and realize intervention with naloxone could have saved them.”
A New PATH and Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign representatives are stepping up efforts to educate the public about the overdose crisis and to highlight solutions to the problem. With knowledge, training and the right tools, overdose is reversible. There are solutions that can save lives, such as “Good Samaritan” immunity laws that encourage people who are witnessing an overdose to call 911 without fear of arrest, and expanding access to naloxone, a non-narcotic drug that reverses an overdose.
Denise Cullen, founder of Broken No More and member of Moms United who lost her son to an accidental overdose said, “We are losing our loved ones through addictive illness and lack of action to prevent/treat/cure this disease because of stigma and prejudice. This can happen to anyone. Please help, please pay attention, please act!”
International Overdose Awareness Day, started by the Salvation Army in Australia in 2001, is an opportunity for people around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. Many participating countries also use this day to send a strong message to current and former drug users that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.
For more information on Moms United to End the War on Drugs Overdose Awareness activities: www.momsunited.net or contact A New PATH at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moms United to End the War on Drugs –
A Campaign of A New PATH
2014 International Overdose Awareness Events
New York: St. Anne’s Corner of Harm Reduction /La Cueva will host its Annual International Overdose Prevention Awareness Day on August 28, 2014 at our new central office located at 886 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, New York. The day will include Overdose Prevention and Response Training with naloxone kits, an art competition, candle light vigil and awards ceremony. On September 9, 2014. SACHR will join New York City’s Department of Health & Mental Health commemoration with a training at the intersection of 139th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue, Bronx, New York. 10451. For info: 718.585.5544 x 312 or email@example.com
San Diego, CA: A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) along with community partners including ACLU, GRASP, and NORML Women’s Alliance will remember and honor individuals who have lost their lives to overdose, and to the failed war on drugs on at 6pm Thursday, August 28, 2014. The event, held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, includes naloxone training and distribution, a press conference and a Candlelight Vigil. For info: 619-670-1184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Angeles, CA: International Overdose Awareness Day of Action Aug 31, 2014 10:30am - www.anewpathsite.org The Los Angeles chapter of A New PATH will join with community partners including Drug Policy Alliance, Paso Por Paso, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Amity Foundation and Broken-No-More to hold a “performance art” happening to prevent accidental overdose at the Santa Monica Pier. This action is part of the national Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign. Advocates will stage a “Die In” to bring awareness to those lost through accidental overdose. We will then hold a rally to promote greater access to Naloxone. For info: 619-670-1184 or email@example.com.
Washington, D.C.: On Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 Mommieactivist and sons radio show will devote the hour to a weigh in on the devastation of the war on drugs, including the accidental overdose deaths that are a result of current punitive and discriminatory drug policies at 6:30pm EST. Guest speakers are Gretchen Burns Bergman and Denise Cullen from the national Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign.
Call in number: 1 347-994-1713; email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.blogtalkradio.com/mommieactivist.
Pittsburgh, PA: Moms United partners are making progress with a naloxone bill and a 911 Good Samaritan bill and are using the month of August to raise awareness about these lifesaving policies. Info: Karenplavan@gmail.com.
Dallas, Texas: Mothers Against Teen Violence is working to assure that a bill increasing access to naloxone will be filed when the Texas legislature convenes in January.
One Florida Suncoast; Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte Counties. On August 31st we remember with love those we have lost and send hope to those still struggling. We honor the lives of those we love and say #NotOneMore. International Overdose Awareness Day VIGIL for Remembrance, Action and Hope. Sunday, August 31 at 8:00pm. Ricaltini's Bar and Grille, 1997 Kentucky Ave, in Englewood, Florida. Info: Julia@negron.com
Article in Huffington Post by Joy Strickland