Stories of Addiction
An ongoing series of video interviews with individuals who have been personally affected by addiction. Including recovering addicts, and family members of addicts. Produced with the assistance from students/staff of the Chemical Dependency Counselor Program at Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood NY. For more information, call Professor Ayers-Lanzillotta at 631-851-6594 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you need help, contact Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (LICADD) 1-516-747-2606
Steven Chassman, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD), discusses how an increase in drug potency, along with technological advances that have increased media consumption, have contributed to an exponential rise in substance abuse disorders and death. Early intervention and legal action are key to halting the progression of this epidemic.
Professor Kathleen Ayers Lanzillotta, coordinator of the Chemical Dependency Counselor Program at Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood, NY, briefly discusses the importance of breaking the stigma of alcoholism and addictive disorders so that those affected can get help more readily. Addiction is a progressive illness and often is the catalyst to other serious illnesses that may lead to death.
Jay's story began at the age of 13, when he became dependent on multiple drugs: Xanax, Adderall, heroin and marijuana. Eventually, he reached out for help. He is now sober and as a student in the Chemical Dependency Counselor Program at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, NY, is finding inner peace and fulfillment in helping others.
In 1980, Father Francis Pizzarellii, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW , Executive Director-Founder, CEO of Hope House Ministries, founded Hope House with the goal of aiding young runaways who had experienced crises at home. Over the years, he realized the need to expand its mission to include helping rehabilitate youth who were suffering from addiction. In order for long-term recovery to be successful, he stresses the importance of treating the whole person and not just the substance abuse. Father Frank is an adjunct professor of Sociology at Suffolk County Community College's Ammerman campus.
Heroin addiction took over every aspect of Charlie's life, causing him to lose his family, friends, and sense of right and wrong. After spending nine months in jail, he was lucky enough to be admitted to Hope House Ministries, a treatment facility founded by Father Frank Pizzarelli. With the help of Hope House, Charlie was able to turn his life around. He is now a student in the Chemical Dependency Counselor Program at Suffolk County Community College, in Brentwood, NY.
Shanna was introduced to heroin by an ex-boyfriend. She came from a loving family, and felt she did not fit the stereotype of what she thought addicts to be: abused and from broken homes. Even while regularly attending meetings at Narcotics Anonymous, she was still in denial. When she suffered a relapse, her life really went on a downward spiral; she began stealing from her family for money to buy drugs. After a stint in jail, and with help from her dad, her road to recovery slowly began. Shanna is now a student in the Chemical Dependency Counselor Program at Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood, NY.
Betty is a retired addiction counselor and alcoholic who has been in long term recovery for 49 years. Betty tells the story of her experience as a young mother living with a husband who also was an alcoholic. After a long period of time covering up their addiction, things came to a breaking point when she was admitted to a psychiatric ward. From there, Betty's life began to change for the better.
Tara would "doctor shop" to get prescriptions for pain medications, but things came to a head when she began using heroin. Eventually, she came to the realization that unless she got help, she would die, so she enrolled in a detox program. Tara's experience is proof that addicts can turn their lives around. She is now a student at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, NY.
Located in Port Jefferson and founded by Father Francis Pizzarelli, Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the Ammerman campus, Hope House Ministries uses an holistic approach to aid and empower youth who are homeless or suffering from addiction. Charlie, a student in the Chemical Dependency Counselor Program at Suffolk County Community College, shares his experience with Hope House. If you or someone you love needs help, contact The Kolbe Center, at Hope House Ministries, 631-473-0025, or Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (LICADD), at 516-747-2606.
As a parent of an addict, it is difficult to toe the line between supporting and enabling, especially when the trust between parent and child has deteriorated. By the time he was 16, Colleen noticed that her fun-loving and family-oriented son, Charlie, was becoming secretive and withdrawn. Eventually, she discovered he was using drugs. A year later, Charlie's father died, and from then on, it got worse. After putting him in a 30-day rehab program (that failed), and bailing him out of jail numerous times, Colleen finally realized that she no longer wanted to be an enabler. Charlie is now studying to become a Chemical Dependency Counselor at Suffolk County Community College.
Mark shares the story of his struggle with finding a suitable rehab facility for his daughter, Shanna, who was addicted to heroin. After several unsuccessful experiences with crowded facilities or facilities that did not accept patients long-term, Shanna found refuge in Daytop, a center that specializes in individualized treatment plans. Now the mother of a newborn, Shanna is on the road to permanent recovery.
Losing a child is considered the most difficult loss a person can endure. In 2012, at the age of 22, after being in the grips of heroin addiction for three years, Susan's daughter, Megan, lost her life to an overdose. Susan's admitted lack of awareness about the prevalence of teen heroin use and the drug's effects contributed to her frustration when trying to help her daughter.
Martin's need to numb his feelings of sorrow and internal pain lead to his addiction to crack cocaine. This caused him to lose not only his finances, but also, his family and friends. After hitting rock bottom, he reached out to the VA hospital, where he entered a treatment program. Martin is now a student in the Chemical Dependency Counselor Program at Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood, NY, and has reconnected with his family.