After losing his son to opioid addiction, Shatterproof Founder and CEO Gary Mendell is changing how addiction gets treated.
“I was woken up in the middle of the night by my cell phone ringing. And when I picked it up I was told my son Brian had just died. He was 25 years old and he hadn’t used a substance in 13 months. And even more tragic, it wasn’t just addiction that took my son’s life. It was the feeling of shame he had every morning when he opened his eyes, of feeling like an outcast.”
He later stated, “20 million Americans around this country are suffering with this disease. Last year, our health care system prescribed enough opioids for every man, women and child in the United States to be fully medicated around the clock for 3 weeks — way more than we need. But the most difficult obstacle we must overcome, it’s the way we think about addiction, the stigma we attach to it. Stigma extinguishes the very hope and self-respect that someone battling this disease so desperately needs. I get calls from families telling me about a son or daughter who is struggling with addiction to opioids. And the advice I give is always the same. The most important thing you can do — tell them that you love them. Tell them that you are proud of them for the daily fight they have with a difficult disease and you are there to support them every step along the way.”