BENEFITING: Obrien House Inc
EVENT DATE: Aug 23, 2017
Since I wrote my story last year, I have lost another friend to addiction. He was a beautiful person with a gracious heart, but he battled his entire life to overcome his addictions. He believed in the mission of O'Brien House, and he was a generous donor while he was alive. Though he wanted to and never got the chance, it was his ambition to inspire and work with youth who struggled with the same demons which tortured him.
Every day, the death toll rises, and there is no demographic to assign to the dead. An opioid addict, especially, can be a rich, private-schooled teenager or a homeless elderly person. Parents, who often think this epidemic will not enter their homes, turn their eyes to the information and education only to learn drugs are being used right under their noses. My point? It's as important to know the signs and symptoms of drug use and abuse as it is to know that saturated fat is bad for your heart. Instead, we don't talk about drug use, and we certainly don't talk about which kids are using and dying. Frank conversations are the first step, and it is my personal mission to ignite that dialogue.
In Louisiana, there are more opioid prescriptions than there are residents. That's a sobering statistic when you consider another statistic behind it: 1 in 4 people who are prescribed an opioid for non-cancer pain will struggle with opioid abuse.
But this story isn't just about opioids. Opioids just happen to be what we are fighting most of the time now, and they're especially hard to kick. The other half of the story is about recovery and places like O'Brien House. Without places like O'Brien House, people don't stand a chance to get well. OBH is Baton Rouge's only halfway house dedicated to serving homeless and indigent addicts. A person, desperate to be clean, tired of the addict life, can walk into OBH off of the street and get help. OBH offers a person a home, counseling, hot meals, and loving arms for the amount of time that is actually required to get clean. O'Brien House also offers ancillary programs to the public like grief counseling, community prevention programs, outpatient treatment, and Al-Anon and AA meetings. If you know anything about what it takes to really get sober, you know that it takes time and a tremendous amount of support. OBH offers both, but because OBH caters to the indigent, their funding comes from donors, grants, and city/state.
At O'Brien House, we have an exceptional staff, a committed board, innovation in outreach, and lots of love, but how do we continue supporting the growing number of addicts if funding resources stay at the same level or, worse, go down? The hard truth is we have to keep raising money and keep increasing awareness. But if you're a homeless addict ready to change your life, $50 goes a long way. We don't do fancy galas here. Your donation fixes our leaky roof or cools our rooms. I'm donating a week of housing for a resident, or $85 per day x 7. I hope you'll join me, however big or small your donation may be, to help us continue saving lives from addiction.