The story of Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse begins with the tragic death of a 19-year-old. On the morning of April 25, 2010, Janet Janes went to wake her son Christopher for work. But Chris, who’d experimented with the potent prescription drug Methadone the night before, was already too far gone for medics to revive.
In her grief, Janes knew that “Even though Chris had passed away, I felt like I needed to protect the other cubs. I did not want another family to suffer this pain.”
And thus MAPDA, a 501(c) (3) charity, was born in 2011 with the help of another mother grieving for her son Ryan and others who’d suffered devastating losses.
In 2011, opioids were a silent, often hidden killer. But as we spoke publicly about the dangers of these drugs, parents who had suffered a loss or were struggling with a son’s or daughter’s substance abuse disorder reached out to us. They shared our desire to find solace, to spare others this anguish and most importantly, to demand action.
We started with tiny donations and outsize determination and began speaking in schools to educate children about the deadly danger of misused prescription drugs.
Now Americans are dying at the rate of more than five every hour, as waves of prescription and illegal opioids flood our communities and enter our homes. No corner of our country is spared. No family seems immune. The latest threat is uber-powerful illicit opioids, such as fentanyl and its cousins.
The solutions can seem as straightforward as ridding our medicine cabinets of unused prescription painkillers, often the first step toward addiction, or as complex as ending the stigma too often attached to those suffering from addiction and even to their families. None of this is easy, but solutions are achievable. Our goal is to achieve them.
For starters, let’s get this straight: No one chooses to become addicted. It is not a moral failing. It is a disease.
With our perspective as mothers and fierce instincts to protect our children, we bring unique tools to this battle.
We will strive to banish unused prescription opioids from homes, end the stigma of drug addiction and demand accessible, effective treatment. To give hope to young people trying to end their addiction, we are funding college and vocational scholarships at selected schools. In June 2019, we funded our first scholarship to California’s College of the Desert, to be awarded to a recovering student and named in honor of our founder’s son, Chris.
We move forward in the memories of Chris, Ryan and so many others we are losing every day. ❤️
Drawing by Chris Straughan- A Victim of Methadone Poisoning