Hope United was founded by Travis and Shelly Bornstein who lost their 23-year-old son Tyler to a Heroin/Fentanyl overdose on September 28, 2014. As heartbreaking as their story is, it is not unique or unusual. In fact, according to the latest statistics available, it is estimated that over 60,000 people in the U.S. died of a drug overdose in 2016, the largest number ever recorded. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, and 1 in 7 will develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. Tragically, the US is facing a new set of epidemics: More than 1 million Americans have died in the past decade from drug overdoses, alcohol and suicide. In 2015 alone, 127,500 Americans died from drug or alcohol-induced causes or suicide. That equates to 350 deaths per day, 14 deaths per hour or 1 death every 4 minutes.
While fundraising to build the FIRST Relapse Prevention Wellness Center in Southern Summit County called Tyler’s Redemption Place, we are busy with presentations at schools and in the community, and facilitating groups for families impacted by the opioid crisis. Funds raised on CrowdRise will be used to support two key services of Hope United in its efforts to combat the opioid, alcohol and suicide epidemics: support groups and education in the schools. Here is what we offer:
Support Groups: Support and encouragement are vital for families to start healing and to have hope, and Hope United support groups provide both to family members impacted by the opioid, alcohol and suicide epidemics. Led by trained facilitators, peer-to-peer groups for family members include the following:
The Well is a grief group for families who have lost a loved one to overdose, alcohol or suicide.
Loving with Grace helps families currently living with someone in active addiction.
Hope United plans to increase the number and types of support groups over the next two years, such as support groups for children, groups to address the needs of veterans, as well as launching a beta group to support those in recovery while we build our future Relapse Prevention Wellness Center. Hope United has found that once people realize they are not alone in the fight against addiction they are empowered to speak up and get help for themselves and their family. Participants receive the confidence and tools needed not only to cope better, but to detect when immediate care is needed.
Education: Our educational arm, called Breaking Barriers, provides presentations to area middle school and high school students, focusing on raising awareness of the dangers of opioid use, educating that addiction is a disease not a personal or moral failure, and highlighting why they need to address those struggling with addiction with love and compassion. Hope United is in the process of developing an ongoing, long-term program for schools to include different monthly topics for students (signs of use, the disease of addiction, talking to friends/family, etc.), student groups, and a component to educate teachers and parents. The objective is to keep the students and teachers talking about the subject, and to get the students involved in educating the community about addiction and helping break the stigma associated with drug addiction.