OUR SAM Foundation Opioid Addiction Recovery Scholarship Fund

OUR SAM Foundation   Opioid Addiction Recovery Scholarship Fund


In the time it takes to finish this video,
someone will have died from a opioid overdose. Each day, more than 130 Americans die from
opioid overdose and overdose is now the leading cause of death for people in the U.S. under
50 years old. Nowhere has been hit harder by the opioid
abuse epidemic than the Midwest, where heroin-related overdose deaths have increased by more than
5 times in this decade alone. In fact, one in five opioid overdose deaths
occur in the industrial Midwest states, like Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. I’m Dr. Richard Meier and right now, we’re
at New Foundations Recovery Housing to highlight how Our SAM Foundation is confronting the
opioid abuse crisis by helping people overcome their struggle with addiction. We met with the nonprofit’s founder to learn
more. Our SAM Foundation started off as going to
be a recovery scholarship fund and we quickly realized that recovery was pretty much covered
by insurance; but sober living had no external source to get help if you needed funds to
get into it. The initial fee to get into sober living to
someone that is coming out of crisis – rehab / jail / who has burned the bridges with their
families – and no longer has resources, is unattainable. That’s where we come in. In just a little over a year, we have given
scholarships to 150 people in the amount of $21,370. We are a hand-up. All we want to do is get them in the door
to sober living and let them help themselves. For Katie, this mission is personal. In 2017, she lost her son, Sam, to a fentanyl-laced
heroin overdose. He was only 24 years old. His sister, Kayla, shares his story. Samuel was my younger brother. He was a kind and funny person with an incredibly
amazing, sarcastic sense of humor. It’s surreal how it all started, because
he had struggled with mental health for so long; but learning that he had started using
heroin – none of us could really believe it at first. I always described it as screaming at a brick
wall. There was more than one time that I was on
the phone with him, screaming, “I just want you to be okay! I need my baby brother!” We got him in and out of treatment – trying
something a little different every time – let’s change places, change people, change his situation. I remember the time that he passed away. I had five missed calls from my dad and I
called him. He immediately picked up and I said, “What’s
going on?” and he replied, “Sam overdosed again. He didn’t make it.” Like Sam, about 10% of patients legally prescribed
painkillers develop abuse disorder and 5% transition to heroin once their prescription
runs out. In fact, more than 80% of heroin users first
misused prescription opioids. One such patient is Nicholas Marcus, who received
a scholarship from Our SAM Foundation to assist in his recovery. I’m 39 years old, married with four kids,
and a recovering addict. I’ve been using some sort of substance since
the age of twelve. I had a nine-year point in my life when I
didn’t use heroin; but I had surgery and they gave me a prescription for Percoset. I abused those and it took me right back to
heroin. One thing after another led me to homelessness
for the last three or four years. I found my treatment place and my peer counselor
there told me about Our SAM Foundation and they led me down the road to my sober living
house, where I am now. Now, I just celebrated 30 days yesterday. I’ve been through treatment a few times
in my life. I’m taking it seriously this time. I’m just trying to get myself back, so I
can get my family back. Like Nicholas, the struggle with addiction
frequently leads to homelessness. More than half of homeless individuals are
dependent on alcohol or other harmful substances; but, with access to support, guidance and
accountability, these people can find hope in recovery housing. New Foundations Executive Director, Mikella
Chrisman, shares more. Our mission is to provide safe, affordable
housing for those suffering from substance use disorder. We provide a recovery environment with structure,
accountability and responsibility, as well as the brotherhood and sisterhood of people
in recovery coming together. We take anybody who suffers from substance
use disorder – anything from alcohol, heroin, fentanyl, crystal meth, the whole gamut. As long as somebody admits that they have
a substance use disorder, we will accept them into our homes. At New Foundations, program participants are
self-funded. Our SAM is our number one contributor to help
people get into recovery housing. Helping them with a couple of weeks of program
fees, so they are able to get on their feet and they are able to look for a job and they
don’t feel so much pressure. That’s why our relationship with Our SAM
is so critical. We can literally ask for a donation for somebody
and we allow them in right away. That’s the beauty of our relationship: saving
lives together. Our Sam Foundation awards scholarships through
a network of recovery housing organizations. There, participants receive safe housing,
access to evidence-based recovery groups, and a systematic approach to sober living. One scholarship recipient, Preston Denney,
says Our SAM Foundation gave him the hand up to help change his life. Our SAM Foundation has benefitted my recovery
by providing the money to get me in the door. It wasn’t a hand-out. It was a helping-hand. I had no where else and, at that point, my
resources had run dry. I’ve burned many bridges and had many people
push me away, because they’ve been dealing with my addiction my whole life. The first time I used drugs, I was nine years
old. It took away temporarily always being self-conscious
of what people thought of me. When I was high, I didn’t care what people
thought of me. I knew that feeling is how I wanted to feel
always. I didn’t ever want to feel sober. I tried heroin for the first time at the age
of twenty-one. I isolated myself from family and from friends
who wanted to help me. I didn’t want help at the time, because
what they were offering, I didn’t see as help. The only help that I knew was the drugs – self
medicating. I went to prison a year later at the age of
twenty-two for drug trafficking heroin. I’ve been to prison four times. When I lost that crutch of my family always
picking up the pieces when I was like a tornado that wrecked everything. I lost that ability of being able to go back
home and have them help pick up the pieces. I was forced into the street – homeless. I was at a point in my life where I was hopeless. I reached out for help. I called some sober living houses. I didn’t have the money for sober living;
but I knew that I needed to be in sober living, because if I did back to the same people,
places and things – doing the same stupid things – I would get the same stupid results. Our SAM was willing to help me and I’m thankful
for that. It saved my life. Opioid abuse is an urgent crisis – here in
Cincinnati and across the United States – as addiction can destroy families and literally
end lives – But you can get involved – right now – by going to oursamfoundation.org and
learning how you can change and save lives by getting involved in this mission.

3 Replies to “OUR SAM Foundation Opioid Addiction Recovery Scholarship Fund”

  1. I get this. Wow. So incredible. I am thankful I was there for my son. He made it. I thought I did everything I could by throwing money to help. He had to help himself So thankful my baby boy made it through the overdose. Lots of rehabilitations to relearn how to walk and talk. But he is clean and sober for over 3 years now.

  2. Nicholas Marcus, is my dad, actually, when I found about this I was so excited. it's been so hard but it's a real thing and I'm so proud of him for getting this far. God bless

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