On June 21, 2012, I had the honor to speak at Bucks County GRASP's (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) first anniversary meeting in Bristol, PA.
This type of anniversary no one ever wants to be in a position to celebrate.
GRASP represents a nationwide network of support groups for parents and family members of those who have died from accidental drug overdose.
I spoke about what led me to become involved with GRASP and it's parent group Broken No More: my experience with addiction and mental illness in my family, my recent awareness of our country's failed drug policies and how my work with my clients has been transformed as a result.
The anniversary meeting was an opportunity to acknowledge the growth of the Bucks County GRASP group, which offers those suffering from their devastating loss the opportunity to connect with others in an atmosphere of safety that helps to promote their healing.
The Bucks County meeting was founded and is led by Barbara Hentosh, with the support of her husband Dave, who's daughter Jennifer died from a drug overdose at age 34. The Bucks County Courier-Times had a nice write-up about the meeting.
At the national level, GRASP is led by Denise and Gary Cullen of Indio, CA, who lost their son Jeff to overdose at age 27. GRASP's Facebook page and support groups allow parents to connect with each other and work on healing their loss without the stigma and judgment about addiction that's often found in other support groups.
To learn more about the United States' failed public health drug policies, check out Drug Policy Alliance