I’m sure just about all of you have seen on TV or heard on the radio the commercials featuring Governor Christie that promote ReachNJ and both its hotline and website for those dealing with drug addiction as well as the families who are desperately seeking help.

The latest ad focuses on Vanessa who was taking pain killers after being injured and eventually became a full-blown heroin user. The good news is she is now a recovering addict.

Some still live in the drug dark ages and think addicts are those from the wrong side of the tracks who never had a life to begin with.  The scariest part of the drug problem is there is no profile. It affects all ages, lifestyles, backgrounds.

It doesn’t know or care if you come from a good and loving family or a dysfunctional one whether you have money or don’t.  As we have come to learn the drug problem is everywhere and likely not all that far from where you are at this very moment.

As I’ve mentioned in the past I regularly read the obituaries in the newspaper and rarely does a week go by in which the death of someone usually very young is obvious from drugs, sometimes even due to suicide when the addiction became just too much.

It’s not hard to figure this out as often towards the end of the obit there will be something about “in lieu of flowers please make a donation” to a facility or organization like Hope Sheds Light.  That’s a Toms River-based group whose goal is to raise awareness and education about the disease of drug addiction while also providing hope and resources towards recovery.  They know all too well about the evils as its hit very close to home.

We are starting to become very aware that the problem is not going away anytime soon and way too many families right in our own backyard are dealing with horror stories that frankly many of us can’t even imagine.  We have come to learn that addiction is not a choice but a disease that needs to be treated.  If you know of anyone struggling there is help by contacting reachnj.gov or hopeshedslight.org.

Hearts for Hope Casino Night
Hope Sheds Light hosts their Hearts for Hope Casino Night at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. The mission of Hope Sheds Light, Inc. is to raise awareness and educate individuals, families and the community about the disease of addiction and to provide hope and resources towards recovery. Click hopeshedslight.org for tickets and more information.