Greg interviews Rene Elefteriou, a resident of Parma, Ohio that started the program B.A. FORCE, Battling Addiction Families of Recovering Children & Education. B.A. FORCE was created to help families affected by the opioid epidemic, as well as those suffering or recovering from substance abuse disorder.
Greg asks Rene about how she decided to be proactive and open in the fight against the opioid epidemic when so many parents of children suffering from substance abuse disorder instinctively turn insular. Rene explains that when she was first dealing with her son’s substance abuse disorder, she also felt the pressure to remain silent. However, she says, silence doesn’t work. “I think that, what it was for me, and what other parents can do, is to realize that it doesn’t discriminate. It’s in all the different communities. I raised four kids, I had two go to college and they’re living very successful lives at this point – and one of them did have an addiction and she got past it. The other two, they’re still struggling with it. But the main thing is that you cannot hide it, you cannot feel ashamed. I realized in the beginning, especially with my son’s addiction, that I didn’t want my dad to know. Well that allowed my son to go over to grandpa’s and get money when he wanted to – and then you’re feeding the addiction. If you are quiet, nobody knows, and it’s not going to help anybody. You can actually love your child to death, in a sense… So, you have to speak out and you have to let others know, whether they’re effected or not. You shouldn’t be ashamed, there should be no stigma – these are our sons, our daughters, our mothers, and our fathers… You have to speak out and you have to continue to advocate and make things better and hope that we can make a change.”
Listen to the podcast to discover how Rene and those working with B.A. FORCE are inspiring others in Parma and the greater Northeast Ohio area to reach out, seek help, and speak about their experiences to spread awareness.