Virginia Recovery Foundation offers help for the addicted

In April 2016, SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment) of Chesterfield County Virginia along with the heroin task force for which I am a member, plus several area sponsors, hosted an event to present the Angel program.

Chief Campanello from Gloucester, Mass came and presented his innovative and nationally-recognized “Angel Initiative” which has helped 425 people get into treatment since its inception in January 2015. The goal of the training was to equip attendees to create volunteer projects similar to the “Angel Initiative” in their communities that will get opioid, heroin and other drug addicts into treatment and … Read more...

The day I went public

newspaperMany of you know me as someone that went public after my son’s suicide. It was actually prior to that in 2014. 

I know why most of us don’t speak our child’s mental illness because our kids, teens especially, want their struggles kept private. We also worried they’ll get labeled and mistreated as a result. Which is a valid concern. 

In 2014, I had had enough silence.

I can’t remember the circumstances, but I was asked to write an article for Richmond Times Dispatch about our family’s struggle with our child’s mental illness. I said yes. I can’t say I Read more...



When Charles first started abusing drugs, we didn’t talk about it. My frustration and fear and fear were the dominant emotions.

Was it drugs or was it mental illness? We did find out eventually that it was mental illness first and the initial drug use was a result of his wanting to feel better, or more normal. Getting to the root of the problem was an enormously difficult process.

I did talk to people I trusted.

I didn’t talk about it to everyone, though. And one time I talked to the wrong person and it somehow wound its way back … Read more...

Giving back becomes contagious

Sherry had just celebrated a year in recovery and had just 3 more weeks of school in Charlottesville before she graduated. But her car died permanently and she had no transportation from Richmond to her classes.

She had gone back to school so she could earn a better living to sufficiently support her three children. As a single mother, that was not possible at a minimum wage job. So that car was critical to her being able to achieve that goal.

Despite all her hard work and perseverance, it looked as though her dream of graduating would evaporate with just … Read more...

Preventure. Evidence-based school drug prevention program coming to Virginia

An associate professor at the VCU Institute of Drug and Alcohol Studies, Dr. Jasmin Vasilleva is interviewed by Anne Moss Rogers of and President of Beacon Tree Foundation. 

Article on Preventure and how it works. Can Addiction be prevented?

This grant has been submitted!

Presentation on this program is 5pm on December 7, 2016 at VCU. Larrick Center. Free admission and free parking on 8th St.

The evidence-based drug prevention program featured in this New York Times article, The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction could potentially be coming to Virginia schools. It’s really a … Read more...

When did Charles become addicted?

I don’t really know for sure to be honest. I have tried to find out but those who have that information have not talked to me. So I’ve pieced this together given when his personality changed and I think he was addicted (a daily user) for about 6 months or as long as 9 months prior to his suicide.

You see Charles was so affectionate and would often come in my office to have heart to heart conversations. That started to change in the fall of 2014. We noticed Charles was overly perky a couple of times that summer. And … Read more...

Did you know there is an opiate vaccine?

heroin-vaccineThis is a vaccine. Not Vivitrol. I had no idea until Stas Novitsky of the Mcshin Foundation told a group of us about the heroin vaccine at the screening of a documentary about the heroin epidemic in Virginia.

We are in the worst addiction crisis ever.

People are dying every day in record numbers from this disease and the most promising vaccine for drug addiction ever is stalled.

Aside from the number of moms who will live with grief for the rest of our lives as a result of losses we have suffered in this crisis, it is costing our … Read more...

You are great parents


You have a child who is abusing or addicted to drugs. You have reached the end of your rope and your wallet. Your own health is declining and your emotional health is waning.

Your life is in chaos

You’ve dropped everything to run to the rescue multiple times.

You want to fix this.

This one is for the parents who have tried to help, have done everything, only to realize that nothing you have done has helped change your child’s behavior.

You are used up and you have decided to let go.

This is the hardest place in the world


We sold a car for a hug


Richard, my oldest, originally got this hand-me-down car from my Dad. It’s a 1999 Toyota Avalon with 120,000 miles on it. Top of the line in 1999.

Richard dropped it off for inspection when he drove up from NC and the amount of work needed to be done exceeded the value of the car. He was crestfallen. He loved that car. The mechanic suggested selling it on Craigslist for parts as the engine would be worth something.

When my friend Julie generously offered to sell us her 2008 Nissan Altima with 115,000 miles for a song, we couldn’t see … Read more...

So what was Charles thinking up until he took his own life?


It’s been over a year and piece by piece I am getting the picture of what Charles was thinking those last days. Where he went. Why he did it. How he felt. This one has been churning in my head like a hamster wheel. So I have to let it out.

He was supposed to go with a group of others to the west end of Richmond around the end of May 2015. He had been living at a house with others suffering from heroin addiction and they stuck together like family. A friend of his said he refused to go with … Read more...