SOURCE: Shatterproof


February 19, 2015 11:47 ET

Anti-Addiction Nonprofit Unveils Multi-State Public Advocacy Campaign

$500,000 Effort Is Among the Largest Ever in Support of Legislation to Combat Drug Overdose Fatalities

NORWALK, CT--(Marketwired - February 19, 2015) - Shatterproof, a non-profit organization whose core mission is to protect children from addiction to alcohol and other drugs and to end the stigma and suffering of those affected by the disease, announced that it is investing more than $500,000 this year in advocacy efforts aimed at enacting state-level policies to combat drug overdose deaths. The funding is believed to be among the most ever invested by a non-profit organization in an effort to pass state legislation aimed to prevent drug overdoses and save lives.

Saving Lives by Changing Laws in 2015

"Lives are being shattered all across the country because of the shame and stigma associated with the disease of drug addiction and the lack of resources and support that provide effective treatment. It's time that we work together to pass sound public policy that saves lives and provides hope to individuals struggling with the burden of addiction," Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof said. "We're never going to be successful in helping the individuals and families who live with this pain until we start talking about the ways to treat and reverse the harrowing trends of this affliction -- and then act."

In the past five years, a growing number of states have passed laws to address the drug overdose epidemic. But there is still more work to be done. This legislative session Shatterproof has committed to working in at least four states -- Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia -- to promote key legislative priorities and to educate policymakers of the outsized impact sound public policy can make in saving the lives of individuals suffering from addiction.

Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia currently lack one or both of a twin set of laws: (1) Encouraging the distribution and administration of the medication naloxone (also known by its brand name Narcan), which can immediately reverse the effects of overdoses from heroin and prescription painkillers, and (2) "Good Samaritan" immunity, which provides protection from controlled substance possession laws for persons who call 911 for emergency assistance because they are either experiencing or observing a life-threatening overdose.

Last week, Shatterproof praised the West Virginia legislature for passing the Access to Opioid Antagonists Act (Senate Bill 335) with unanimous bi-partisan support. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to sign the bill into law soon, broadening the availability of naloxone to all who need it in West Virginia. Additionally last week, Mr. Mendell testified in front of Kentucky's House Judiciary Committee, urging legislators to include in House Bill 213 stronger protections for bystanders calling for emergency assistance in the event of an overdose, which then passed unanimously in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

In Shatterproof's home state of Connecticut, the organization is working to strengthen existing naloxone and "Good Samaritan" laws and institute a Mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In addition to their four-state advocacy efforts, Shatterproof is actively seeking opportunities to work with local allies and lawmakers across the U.S. to continue strengthening the laws and provide resources to the millions of Americans who are suffer from the disease of addiction. The organization is quickly growing and will expand its reach to additional states, encouraging commonsense public policy solutions that can provide life-saving results.

A Father's Mission

Mr. Mendell lost his 25-year old son, Brian, after a nearly ten-year battle with addiction. Since then, Mr. Mendell has made it his life's mission to raise awareness and advocate for commonsense public policy to aid in the emergency and long-term treatment of individuals struggling with addiction. After a successful career in business, Mr. Mendell launched Shatterproof with a $5 million personal commitment and quickly raised $4.5 million more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 120 people die of a drug overdose every day in the U.S. -- that's one every 12 minutes -- and an additional 6,700 people are treated in emergency departments. In 2013, more than half of all drug overdose deaths were related to pharmaceuticals and more than 70 percent of those involved opioid analgesics.

Aggressive Plans to Fight Addiction

In addition to supporting public policy, Shatterproof's current efforts to reduce the stigma of addiction include several public awareness campaigns. Among the most popular of these campaigns are Shatterproof Challenge events, in which participants fundraise in exchange for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of rappelling from the side of a multi-story local building. There are nearly 30 Shatterproof Challenge events across the United States scheduled for 2015.

"For those overcoming addiction, shame and guilt can be as deadly as the drugs they crave," Mr. Mendell added. "We will do whatever we can to reduce the stigma of addiction and help provide those who need it with the care and love they so humanly deserve."

Shatterproof is a national organization committed to protecting our children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease. 

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