“Someday people will realize that I am not a bad person. That I have a disease and I am trying my hardest.”
~ Brian Mendell, the inspiration for Shatterproof
Did you know that every major illness in the United States has a well-financed national nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding research, improving treatment, and raising public awareness and understanding?
Every disease except one, that is—addiction.
One bereaved father is working to change that, and the results of his efforts may soon be the biggest—and best—news to come from the frontlines of the opioid epidemic in a long time.
Addiction Directly Kills in Indirect Ways
In 2011, Gary Mendell lost his son because of the disease of addiction, but not how you might expect. Brian didn’t die of an overdose—in fact, he hadn’t used drugs for over a year. But they killed him, just the same.
Brian had battled addiction for nearly 10 years before he got clean and sober, locked into a cycle of rehab attempts and relapse. But even when he got the right help and was succeeding in his sobriety, he was still plagued by overwhelming negative emotions of guilt, shame, and failure.
Most of all, Brian Mendell felt isolated and stigmatized because of his actively-addicted past. Eventually, he was overwhelmed and took his own life at only 25 years old.
A Father Acts in His Son’s Memory
“We need a collective voice to shatterproof our children from developing this disease and we need a collective voice to eliminate the stigma of those who have this disease. We need to be able to change public policies to provide the proper medical care, love and compassion that those with this disease so humanly deserve.”
~ Gary Mendell, Founder and CEO of Shatterproof
To channel his grief towards something positive, Gary threw himself into learning everything he could about the disease of addiction. In 2013, he started a charity, “Brian’s Wish”, and gathered together some of the top minds in the country in the fields of prevention, addiction, treatment, and long-term recovery.
Hoping to broaden the perception of the charity as a resource for ALL families, the name was changed to Shatterproof, with three measurable goals:
- Cut the number of addicted people in HALF.
- Cut the number of addiction-related deaths in HALF.
- Cut the financial burden imposed on society by addiction in HALF.
Shatterproof is already making a real difference. The organization successfully advocated for CDC opioid prescribing guidelines, and they helped change Massachusetts state law so that now doctors are required to regularly review patients’ medications via the Prescription Monitoring System.
In October 2017, Shatterproof is expected to create a Substance Use Disorder Task Force that will report on the quality of care provided by treatment services around the country.
Shatterproof will be going national in 2018.
Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego supports any efforts made to improve the availability and quality of care for suffering addicts, alcoholics, and their families.