“Everyone Knows Someone” Initiative Aims For Addiction Awareness

oneKate Ariano ‘18
EE Features Editor

According to Addiction Center.com, 100 people die from drug overdoses every single day. Matt DeLuca, founder of the C.A.R.E.S. group, is on a mission to break the stigma around those suffering from the illness so commonly known as addiction. In cooperation with the formerly SADD now Youth to Youth club, DeLuca created “Everyone Knows Someone” to share not only his personal struggles through addiction, but those of people in our own community. Last Thursday, DeLuca and the team shared the awareness with students that “Everyone Knows Someone” affected by drugs and alcohol.

The day of awareness kicked off with “1’s” written on the sidewalks while students walked into school. This ensured that the entire school community was exposed to the event immediately, but it did not stop there. When students arrived at their lockers in the morning, they discovered that each and every one was plastered with the “Everyone Knows Someone” logo and hashtag. Throughout the day, students and faculty were spotted wearing “Everyone Knows Someone” t-shirts, especially after DeLuca personally handed them out during lunch waves. By the end of the day, everybody knew that “Everyone Knows Someone”.

DeLuca describes his own experiences with drug addiction: “My disease brought me to the darkest places both physically and emotionally. I was labeled a junkie, a drug addict, a loser by outsiders looking in. I was judged by people that barely knew me. I was embarrassed, ashamed, afraid, and completely overwhelmed. I was demonized as a bad person and a trouble maker rather than someone who was sick and needed help.”

Supporters of the campaign recognize that the goal of “Everyone Knows Someone” is to completely erase the stigma behind drug and alcohol addicts. Victims of the illness are subjugated to stereotypes, having no choice but to allow them to form the entire construct of their identity. The team behind “Everyone Knows Someone” is prepared to fight the branding of those suffering as well as their friends and families and everyone in their life who is impacted by their disease.

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