On March 1, 2017, at the 2017 CARA Reception to close the 2nd annual CARA Family Day, the Addiction Policy Forum recognized five advocates for their work to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of addiction.
Aimee D’Arpino (Mansfield, MA)
Aimee Manzoni-D'Arpino was born and raised in Easton, MA and lives in Mansfield, MA with her husband John, son Zachary and daughter Alice. Aimee attended Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA where she studied English and Secondary Education.
Currently, Aimee is employed by the Southeastern Regional School District where her favorite responsibilities is her role as head cheer coach, as working with high school students has always been her passion. While Aimee is no stranger to volunteer work, her newest venture is particularly close to her heart. In partnership with the active outreach committee of her church, she has started a monthly ministry, the "Friends of Emmett" - a group geared towards providing faith, fellowship and healing to those affected by our nation's opioid epidemic.
Aimee is a Co-Chair for The Addiction Policy Forum’s Family Committee and is dedicated to seeing that the stigma of substance use disorder be identified and diminished. She runs an online Facebook support group: "Families Opening Up About Addiction - Sharing Without Stigma."
Doug Griffin (Newton, NH)
Doug first became involved as an advocate shortly after the passing of his daughter Courtney in September of 2014, because he felt there was a need in New Hampshire to increase the awareness of the dangers of the drugs in the community. Locally, Doug has addressed the need for Narcan in the homes of families at risk for overdose. Doug testified before both the House and Senate Health and Human Services Subcommittees to encourage passage of NH House Bill 271, and testified again before a US Senate subcommittee along with Jack Riley, head of the US DEA, Michael Boticelli, Director of ONDCP and Gil Kerlikowske, Head of the US border patrol on the rise of opioid related deaths and the importance of the CARA legislation. In 2016, Doug became involved with the Addiction Policy Forum in 2016 and is currently the Co-Chair of the Addiction Policy Forum Families Committee. During the election season of 2016, Doug spoke at several presidential candidates forums.
In New Hampshire Doug started a Leo club for students ages 12-18 to work in conjunction with the Lions club to raise awareness within the local school system. The success of the club has led to opening doors and the possibility of many more Leo clubs across New Hampshire. Doug is on the board of directors of Project Recovery, whose goal is to purchase a farm and house a sober living facility where people in recovery can work and become part of the farm and share in its profits. Currently, Doug is has been the owner of Seacoast Digital Computers for the past 30 years. Doug’s family owns The Green Griffin flower shop - a seven-year old busy-as-you-can-get flower and gift shop run by his daughter Shannon. The Griffin family hosts a monthly church service for addicts and their loved ones and is spreading to other churches across New England.
In Massachusetts, Doug is on the board of directors of the Merrimack Valley Prevention and Substance Abuse Project. This three-year old nonprofit organization is based in Methuen, MA. MVPASAP has been a major force in educating people of the Merrimack Valley about drug awareness, treatment and recovery services. MVPASAP meetings are attended by legislators, clinicians, law enforcement, court personnel, and families having been touched by the sting of substance use disorders.
Michelle Jaskulski (Cudahy, WI)
Five years ago, Michelle and her husband discovered their two sons were struggling with opiate addiction. Since then, Michelle has spent much of her time learning about drug abuse, the criminal justice system, the mental health and healthcare systems, and the recovery industry.
Michelle currently runs a local addiction recovery ministry called Beyond Addiction, at Southbrook Church where they host weekly meetings for people seeking recovery and bring awareness & educational opportunities to the church and surrounding community.
She also works closely with several other family support & advocacy organizations both locally & nationally. She is currently the administrative assistant to Barbara Theodosiou, the founder of the national group The Addict’s Mom. Michelle’s passion is to show other families they are not alone on this journey and help them find the resources and support they need.
Lorraine McNeill-Popper (Jamaica Queens, NY)
Lorraine McNeill-Popper was born and raised in Queens, NY and lives in Jamaica Estates, NY with her husband John. Lorraine attended Wagner College on Staten Island, NY where she studied Theology. Today she serves on Wagner College’s Board of Trustees and is on the Executive Board.
Currently, Lorraine is an Executive Creative Director in the advertising industry and a Professor of Advertising at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Lorraine has worked on many iconic advertising campaigns including; Pepsi, The Marine Special Ops, The US Census. However, the one advertising campaign Lorraine is most proud of is the “Above The Influence” campaign she created for The White House Office of National Drug-Control Policy’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign and the Partnership for Drug Free Kids.
Lorraine is a Co-Chair for The Addiction Policy Forum’s Family Committee and is passionate about ending our nation’s heroine and opioid epidemic and ending the shame and stigma associated with addiction. She is the author of a new blog http://whatwilltheneighborssay.com/.
Bill Williams (New York, NY)
Bill Williams’ son, William, died in the late fall of 2012 following a heroin overdose. At his memorial service William’s family made the following pledge: “We promise to do everything in our power to educate and inform people about drug abuse and its prevention, to provide ever more enlightened treatment for addicts, to help make treatment options for addicts more readily available, and to remove the stain of shame surrounding this disease.”
To that end Bill has had essays published in the New York Times, for The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Freedom Institute (where he has been named a Hero of Hope), Phoenix House, The Addiction Policy Forum, Shatterproof, Medium, The William L. White Papers, Addiction Unscripted and the Bowdoin Daily Sun. He also writes frequently on his own blog: http://billwilliamsblog.blogspot.com .
He and his wife, Margot Head, have spoken before the House Caucus on Addiction Treatment and Recovery, a Congressional Briefing on Understanding the Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, the House Bipartisan Task Force to Combat Heroin Addiction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DVJrcZvqlQ, the U.S. Senate Addiction Forum http://bit.ly/1zgE7O3, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse – A Division of NIH, as well as schools, community groups, Public Radio, and other radio and podcast interviews. Using his training and life long career as a theater teacher he’s created theater workshops for teens and young adults in recovery.