CUMMINGTON, MA– One Ohio mother is hitting the road across the country to change the stigma associated with addiction while educating parents. She will stop at Swift River this Tuesday.
Tonda DaRe, who lost her daughter to overdose and testified before a U.S. Senate committee on the opioid epidemic, is hitting 13 states to raise awareness and provide resources through her presentation “Addiction 101”.
DaRe founded the global group Holly’s Song of Hope after her daughter Holly Noel Jenkins died from a drug overdose in 2012.
Overdose deaths in her home state of Ohio totaled at least 4,149 in 2016, a 36 percent jump from 3,050 in 2015. That is the equivalent of ten 747 jets crashing each year. Massachusetts showed a 17% increase in confirmed opioid-related deaths in 2015 and a 42% increase over 2014. DaRe hopes to show that these are in fact not numbers, they’re people.
“She loved everybody. My girl was a very ‘root for the underdog’ girl,” says Tonda of her daughter. “If there was a new kid in school, she was the one who would go straight to them and say, ‘Hey, come sit with me.’”
Tonda faced a nightmare that has become too common for over 33,000 parents a year. In the months that followed her daughter Holly’s death, she couldn’t bring herself to do much of anything. Then, she decided to turn her loss into hope.
“I knew I was struggling and I started looking for support groups and there was nothing out there for someone like me,” says DaRe. “An overdose isn’t a ‘bring a casserole’ death. Neighbors don’t show up like they do in perhaps a car accident.”
Holly’s Song of Hope quickly grew, attracting members all across the globe. The group focuses not just on support, but educating each other. One of their first actions was to advocate for Naloxone, an overdose antidote drug, for law enforcement to carry in Carroll County, Ohio. During Holly’s overdose, a Sheriff’s Deputy was at the house within a matter of minutes. Tonda says it still haunts her to this day that if he had Narcan, Holly might still be alive.
Swift River will open its doors Tuesday and welcome this stop on the tour. The event is free and open to the public. Once on campus, please follow the signs to the event. All members of the public as well as media are expected to check in at the front desk set up at the entrance to the Oasis building.
You can join Holly’s Song of Hope and follow their cross-country tour by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HollysSongofHope/?fref=ts
At Swift River, recovery from addiction is ignited by the thrill of wilderness therapy, dual diagnosis treatment and individualized counseling, set against the soaring beauty of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. On 500 acres and 12 buildings triangled between Boston, Hartford and Albany, Swift River cultivates the most innovative addiction treatment therapies including adventure courses, skiing, catapult bungee and more. The campus specializes in implementing a high level of balance in clients – from social, spiritual to economic success, based on creating a long-term, sustainable recovery. Through evidence-based therapies and lifelong support through its alumni program, Swift River helps clients implement the lifelong skills they need to thrive free of substance abuse and ignites the radiant passion for life that lies within them.