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Doug & Pam Griffin Attend State of the Union

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

APF Board Member is a guest of the First Lady

Two years ago, Doug Griffin wrote a letter to President Biden about his daughter Courtney, who died eight years ago from a fentanyl overdose. On Tuesday, Doug, and his wife Pam, were guests of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the President’s State of the Union address. President Biden spoke about the threat that fentanyl poses to Americans and proposed policies that would expand access to naloxone, SUD treatment in jails and prisons and medications for addiction treatment in routine health care settings.

“It was surreal.” said Griffin who received the invitation the previous week. "Since the announcement of our visit, the phone has been ringing off the hook. So many interviews and zoom calls in our hotel room, the airport and in my office upon my return. The Governor even called me. There is a great need for a focus on the substance use disorder in our country and hopefully my brief time in DC will help open a few eyes, hearts (and wallets)."

The President introduced the nation to Doug, stating, 

“Joining us tonight is a father named Doug from Newton, New Hampshire.  He wrote Jill and me a letter about his daughter Courtney. Contagious laugh. Her sister’s best friend. He shared a story all too familiar to millions of Americans. Courtney discovered pills in high school. It spiraled into addiction and eventually her death from a fentanyl overdose. She was 20 years old. Describing the last eight years without her, Doug said, “There is no worse pain.” Yet their family has turned pain into purpose, working to end stigma and change laws. He told us he wants to “start the journey towards America’s recovery. Doug, we’re with you.”

“We grieved Courtney, however, we know that we’re helping people,” Pam told NBC Boston after the speech.


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