Overdose Lifeline Founder Receives White House Champions of Change Award for Advancing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery
Phillips said, “I am very grateful to Senator Donnelly for this nomination. ODL has so much work to do with our current harm reduction, prevention and education programs – reaching more individuals and counties that are in need. As important, we have a specific “to do” list that addresses initiatives critical to reducing/managing this epidemic and helping those impacted. Our “to do” list needs to apply some of the proven, best practices learned from our colleagues in other states.”
Press Release Fairbanks April 26, 2016. Read the Release here
Fairbanks honored Justin K. Phillips with its 2016 Richard M. Fairbanks Circle of Hope Award during the annual Circle of Hope Dinner April 21 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.
Phillips, a recovery advocate, founded Overdose Lifeline, Inc., to raise awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic and provide resources for prevention. She started the nonprofit organization one year after her 20-year-old son Aaron died from a heroin overdose. In 2015 Phillips worked with state Sen. Jim Merritt on the passage of SEA 406 (Aaron’s Law) to allow for layperson access to Naloxone, a prescription medication used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations.
While humbled by the recognition from Fairbanks, Phillips called it bittersweet. If she could change Aaron’s outcome, she would be anywhere else. Since she couldn’t, Phillips had no choice but to address a problem affecting so many families from every walk of life.
“When I became faced with the reality that my son Aaron was permanently gone from our lives, there was no possibility of comfort, so I chose to have the courage to speak up about the roles stigma and denial play in this disease of addiction – and for Aaron’s memory and all the others losing this fight,” Phillips said.
Even though Phillips has been in recovery from alcoholism since 1989, she was still too ashamed and in denial to admit to anyone that Aaron was using heroin. And she believes that contributed to his death.
“So I decided to start talking about it,” Phillips said. “My experience could save others. Too many are dying. This is really about their lost voices and their lost opportunities. I am here for Aaron and for the countless others.”
Along with helping to pass Aaron’s Law, Overdose Lifeline also developed the only prevention education program directly addressing opioids and heroin. They’ll be part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Road to Recovery program later this year. Phillips also is in the process of earning a master’s degree in addictions counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University.
“There are many days I wonder about choosing comfort,” she said. “But there are lives at stake, and it is time this disease gets the attention it deserves.”
More information on Overdose Lifeline, Inc., is available online at www.overdose-lifeline.org. Contact Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can watch the video about Phillips, produced for Circle of Hope, at this link: https://youtu.be/JD19ehyYBdg or below.
Press Release: Joe Donnelly's Office, April 22, 2016, Read the release
Justin Phillips was nominated by Senator Donnelly for advocacy and efforts in fight against opioid abuse and heroin epidemics in Indiana
RTV6 Selects Local Winner to Represent Central Indiana at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony in Washington D.C.
The following was published by RTV6 on 4/21/2016. Read here
Overdose Lifeline is in Atlanta this week, honored to have been invited to present to National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit the ODL education and prevention program. The week shifted to incredible when we learned that we were invited to meet with Director Botticelli and then it shot out of the universe when it was announced that POTUS was joining the summit.
U.S. Senator Donnelly Calls for Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Address Opioid and Heroin Epidemics, says ‘Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)' would be significant step forward
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly spoke on the floor of the Senate about the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), the bill being considered this week, which seeks to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics and includes provisions adopted from and similar to bipartisan legislation that Donnelly and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) reintroduced last year. These provisions would enhance prescribing best practices, raise public awareness, and expand access to naloxone. During the speech, Donnelly called for quick passage of CARA and shared the stories of several Hoosier families and communities that have been devastated by drug epidemics.