Tribute to Recovery and the Opioid Crisis


Announcing A Safe Haven Foundation’s Tribute to Recovery and the Opioid Crisis

Chicago, IL – June 16, 2015: A Safe Haven is dedicating their annual 5K RUN/Walk To End Homelessness to raise awareness around opioid dependency. By bringing awareness to the rapidly growing epidemic of drug and other behavioral health care issues, it is A Safe Haven’s intent to build the support needed for long term recovery. To commemorate the dedication, we are excited to announce that the 5k ‘swag’ race shirts will be purple this year to honor the memory of Prince, the latest iconic artist that we lost to opioid dependency. In doing so, the event will also represent the millions of individuals—celebrities and non-celebrities—that have become addicted to opioids, including those legally obtained through prescription drugs as well as those obtained illegally such as  fentanyl and heroin. The event will feature music by Prince and other artists who have suffered and lost their battle with addiction in order to empower those struggling to overcome the disease and celebrate those already in recovery.

A Safe Haven will be rallying support for all in recovery and those still suffering from opioid addiction and other behavioral healthcare issues. Drug addiction has overtaken car accidents and gun violence as one of the leading cause of death. It is a condition that knows no boundaries and can affect anyone regardless if they are famous or not famous or rich or poor, young or old, and veterans or non-veterans. Substance use and abuse is also one of the leading cause of homelessness and incarceration.

Through its work with individuals experiencing homelessness—who often cope disproportionately with substance abuse and mental health disorders— A Safe Haven knows that recovery from addiction is possible. A Safe Haven’s leadership is advocating and providing  for real-time solutions to remedy this deadly and urgent disease.

In response to this growing epidemic, in March 2016, President Obama announced his plans to address the prescription opioid abuse and heroin epidemic. There are 8 key elements of this $1.1 billion initiative: Expanding Access to Treatment, Establishing a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force, Implementing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity in Medicaid, Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths, Expanding Public Health-Public Safety Partnerships to Combat the Spread of Heroin, Investing in Community Policing to Address Heroin, Tackling Substance Use Disorders in Rural Communities, and Implementing Syringe Services Programs.

A Safe Haven is requesting community support in its efforts to appeal to elected officials and policy makers for greater resources for recovery.  In order to effectively combat opioid addiction, greater investment must be made in a behavioral healthcare delivery system that includes scalable, proven, evidence-based, and results-driven community models. A supportive environment like the one offered at A Safe Haven is conducive to long-term recovery.

“We know first-hand that addiction can afflict anyone, but we also know that recovery is possible, and can lead to a happy, productive, and meaningful life. Having had such personal experiences with addiction, we founded ASHF with the deliberate intent to show individuals experiencing homelessness that recovery is possible. Since the beginning, the ASH model was designed to break the cycle of poverty by addressing root causes.  By helping to empower and employ our neighbors in need throughout the state, we do everything we can as a leading Human Service organization, and as a caring community to help them get back on their feet with jobs and permanent housing. It is exciting to see so many people who have been touched by the disease already signing up and gearing up to show their support for Recovery. We can’t wait to see you all among a sea of purple commemorative t-shirts to show the world that Chicago supports recovery!” –Neli Vazquez-Rowland, President ASHF.