About The Families Connected Opioid Awareness Project
The Families Connected Opioid Awareness effort aims to reduce the stigma that surrounds opioid addiction by increasing community-wide awareness that opioid abuse and addiction can happen even in the most supportive families, and to the most loved and inspiring youth. The project also aims to empower families with education and resources that will help them prevent opioid abuse.
We hope to extend compassion and caring to the families who have lost a child due to opioid abuse and/or addiction and to let them know that they are not alone. We are all in this together.
What Parents Should Know...
The Opioid Epidemic Is a national crisis
Opioid abuse and addiction can happen to anyone, and In any home
South Bay resident, Cyndi Strand, Founder Blankets of Love, South Bay, shares her reflections on the loss of her son, Justin, due to opioid addiction in January, 2016.
South Bay entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author, Karl McMillen, shares the loss of his son to a drug overdose during a SBFC book club discussion of Triumphs and Tragedies, A True Story of Wealth and Addiction.
Understanding the Opioid Abuse Epidemic
Clicking on the image below will take you to the website for this HBO documentary as well as a helpful resource page.
A two minute video produced by the Associated Press that explains how Opioids can trigger addiction and abuse in anyone.
This Wall Street Journal video chronicles the devastating impact of opioid abuse. This is the story of four families touched by the epidemic.
A call to action for parents
To all who have teens and young adults visiting their home, you can make a difference in the opioid abuse epidemic with two simple actions: lock-up your prescription meds and dispose of expired and un-needed prescriptions at any of the local locations listed below. Many police departments in the South Bay also offer drug drop off and disposal, including illicit drugs.
Carson Safe Drug Drop-off Sheriff Station (L.A. County Sheriff's Dept.), 21356 South Avalon Blvd., Carson, CA 90745; (310) 830-1123 (Note: safe, anonymous drug drop-off boxes are available 24 hrs/day, 7 days/week in front of the office)
S.A.F.E. Collection Center, 1400 N. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731; 1-800-988-6942 (Note: site is open Saturdays and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed holidays and rainy days)
EDCO Recycling and Transfer Center, 2755 California Ave., Signal Hill, CA 90807 (Note: site is open the 2nd Saturday of every month from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Talk with your kids
This free downloadable PDF provides advice to parents talking with teens about the dangers of prescription drug misuse, highlighting symptoms and risks (click on the image to access).
Access more facts about the Opioid Epidemic:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Prevention & Control: Opioid Overdose websites provide current information and statistics about the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic, and background on state prescription drug monitoring programs.
SAMHSA provides a series of 13 fact sheets designed to increase awareness of the risks associated with prescription opioid use and misuse
Support and Resources
If you or your teen need help, please reach out by calling these free help lines
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) - Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
1--800-662-HELP (4357) - SAMSHA
For related resources and crisis intervention, please click on the link below:
Our 2018 South Bay Opioid Awareness Event
In the spring of 2018, the City of Manhattan Beach and South Bay Families Connected hosted a free community event entitled Our Kids and Opioids: It's Time to Talk. The event included a panel discussion moderated by Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth, and on-site drug take back hosted by the Manhattan Beach Police Department.
We thank artist Jennifer Jenkins Dohner for creating this original art as post card giveaways for the event, and Steel Partners Foundation for providing a copy of the book Dreamland to all attendees.
Our 2017 South Bay Opioid Awareness Project Events
During Opioid Awareness Week, 2017, On May 16, Peninsula High School hosted a community screening of the short film "If Only" followed by a panel discussion.
Principal Mitzi Cress, SBFC Inspiration Award winner, welcomed 150 parents to the event before showing a personalized video from Mark Wahlberg, followed by a screening of "If Only" and panel discussion with James Wahlberg, Dr. Moe Gelbart, and Cyndi Strand. The event was co-organized with Mark Wiedenmann, Principal of Chadwick School.
Thelma McMillen Center provided Rx lock bags to the first fifty attendees, and Karl and Carol McMillen, in attendance, were honored by Mitzi Cress during her remarks. Warren Lichtenstein was thanked for funding James Wahlberg's travel to attend the screening event. South Bay Families Connected was acknowldeged for helping with speaker coordination and event promotion, as well as for creating and organizing SB Opioid Awareness week throughout the South Bay.
Below, Cyndi Strand, South Bay parent, shares her family's story of the tragic loss of her son due to opioid addiction.
ON May 17 at Hermosa Valley Middle School, the South Bay Families Connected and Beach Cities Health hosted, "Teen Substance Abuse in the South Bay: What Every Parent Should Know."
Joan Stein Jenkins, Manhattan Beach Prosecuting Attorney, and Captain Milton McKinnon of the Hermosa Beach Police Department shared what is trending in the South Bay, including opioid use and abuse, followed by a Q and A attended by over 60 parents. Parents were then directed to SouthBayFamiliesConnected.org to view prevention videos, to find opioid safe drop off locations, and to stay informed by subscribing to the free monthly SBFC e-newsletter.
Student Screenings of the film, "If Only" and discussion events took place at:
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Mira Costa High School
Thank you to the following schools for sharing Opioid Awareness Week events with their parents, students and staff:
Bishop Montgomery High School
San Pedro High School
Torrance High School
West Torrance High School
Redondo Union High School
The Shores High School
Rolling HIlls Prep and Renaissance School
Rolling Hills Country Day School
Vista Mar School
Rancho Del Mar High School, Rolling Hills
Mary Star High School
Thank you to our 2017 Opioid Awareness Week partners for the following:
The Mark Wahlberg Foundation for making "If Only" available for screening
James Wahlberg for presenting at the May 16 event
Warren Lichtenstein and Steel Partners for funding James' travel
Mitzi Cress and Peninsula High School for funding the special audio visual equipment for the event, as well as staffing and hosting it
Mark Wiedenmann, Principal Chadwick School, for outreach to other area schools for promotion of Opioid Awareness Week
Thelma McMillen Center for funding the opioid lock bag give-away, and to Dr. Moe Gelbart, Executive Director, for presenting at the screening event.
Cyndi Strand, Founder of Blankets of Love South Bay, for presenting at the screening event
Beach Cities Health District for printing promotional flyers for both the May 16th and 17th events, as well as co-sponsoring the SBFC Speaker Series event at Hermosa Valley Middle School.
LSM Communications, LLC, for donating the creation and production of SB Opioid Awareness week, including the web page creation, multiple location event coordination, promotional material, social media management, event registration, and advertising to South Bay Families Connected
Please Join Us in 2010!
All South Bay Schools are encouraged to join in this effort. If you would like education events provided at your school, or to participate in SB Opioid Awareness Week 2019, please complete the form below.