Opioid abuse is a disease and not a moral failing, says Gary Mendell, a father and CEO

Opioid abuse is a disease and not a moral failing, says Gary Mendell, a father and CEO

Opioid abuse is a disease and not a moral failing, says Gary Mendell, a father and CEO

“No love is greater than that of a father for His son.”

― Dan Brown, Angels & Demons

Though every relationship has its own importance, the bond between a father and a son is among the most cherished. As an extension of himself, a father finds his own image in his son. Therefore, they tend to feel pain and happiness in a mutual manner.

Therefore, one can imagine, the agony Gary Mendell—Chairman of HEI Hotels & Resorts—might have faced when, in Oct. 2011, his son succumbed because of opioids. He then decided to fight the battle against this scourge that has claimed millions of young lives across the country. Like any other doting parent, Mendell was shattered and devastated but decided not to let his son’s death go in vain.

Inspired by the compassion for his son, Brian, Mendell envisioned a national organization that treated addiction like any other chronic disease and used evidence-based and concrete resources to help in the prevention, treatment and recovery of millions of people affected by this devastating disease. He realized the above vision through Shatterproof.org, a non-profit organization focusing on ending drug abuse that affects millions of individuals across America.

Shame and stigma and not drugs killed Brian, says Mendell

As per Mendell, his son had struggled with addiction for eight years. He had taken marijuana during his teen years leading to harder drugs. In order to treat his addiction, he underwent eight different programs and therapies— each of the treatment was different and none followed evidence-based protocols. Bogged down by the emotional turmoil caused due to his addiction, none of the programs succeeded in preventing Brian from killing himself.

Brian was a young man when he died as a direct result of his drug addiction on Oct. 20, 2011. Recalling Brian’s death, Mendell had stated that his son did not kill himself, rather the shame and the stigma attached to addiction that made him feel like a ‘bad kid’ shoved him toward death. Following Brian’s death, Mendell decided to understand the problem to the core and then began his search for the treatment gaps.

Treating addiction by promoting compassion and ending the stigma

While his organization Shatterproof.org aims at using the latest, evidence-based resources aimed at the prevention, treatment and recovery of those affected by addiction, it also focuses on promoting compassion toward people affected by this disease and to undo the shame and the discrimination associated with it.

Through his organization, Mendell aims at informing the public about the problem, ending the stigma and promoting policy change at the state and federal levels. Calling addiction a disease, Mendell has called medication-assisted treatment (MAT) a ‘gold standard’ in treating opioid-related disorders.

Mendell’s organization is dedicated to creating a universal standard of care for addiction and has prescribed eight principles of care that include routine screenings, individualized treatment plan, disease management, coordinated care and MAT, among others.

With its new approach, the organization is committed to ending the stigma surrounding the disease of addiction and helping those affected to recover fully.

Beware of addictive and deadly opioids

When used as prescribed, opioids are safe and effective. However, the misuse and abuse of opioids can lead to dependence, overdose and addiction. The factors responsible for the widespread abuse of opioids is their ability to generate euphoria and produce a sense of well-being among its users. Since the brain is hardwired to repeat the pleasurable behaviors, this takes the users down the path to abuse and addiction.

In 2016, approximately 11.8 million Americans (aged 12 or above), including 891,000 adolescents (aged 12 to 17), misused opioids in the past year. Much ahead in the drug overdose deaths, the U.S. is in the middle of its deadliest opioid crisis that has claimed more than 64,000 lives in 2016 itself.

If you know someone who is suffering from drug abuse or addiction and looking for effective treatment options, look no further. At Prescription Drug Addiction Help, our representatives can help you find the best treatment programs based on your needs. Call us our 24/7 prescription drug addiction helpline number 866-623-3847 or chat online with our counselors to know about the finest prescription drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S.