The South Bay Families Connected Opioid Awareness project aims to reduce the stigma that surrounds opioid addiction by increasing community-wide awareness that opioid abuse and addiction can happen even in the most supportive families, and to the most loved and inspiring youth. The project also aims to empower families with education and resources that will help them prevent opioid abuse.
We hope to extend compassion and caring to the families who have lost a child due to opioid abuse and/or addiction and to let them know that they are not alone. We are all in this together.
What Our Community Should Know
Opioid abuse and addiction can happen to anyone, and In any home
South Bay resident, Cyndi Strand, Founder Blankets of Love, South Bay, shares her reflections on the loss of her son, Justin, due to opioid addiction in January, 2016.
South Bay entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author, Karl McMillen, shares the loss of his son to a drug overdose during a SBFC book club discussion of Triumphs and Tragedies, A True Story of Wealth and Addiction.
Understanding the Opioid Abuse Epidemic
Clicking on the image below will take you to the website for this HBO documentary as well as a helpful resource page.
A two minute video produced by the Associated Press that explains how Opioids can trigger addiction and abuse in anyone.
This Wall Street Journal video chronicles the devastating impact of opioid abuse. This is the story of four families touched by the epidemic.
How to talk with youth to prevent opioid abuse
This free downloadable PDF provides advice to parents talking with teens about the dangers of prescription drug misuse, highlighting symptoms and risks (click on the image to access).
Access more facts about the Opioid Epidemic:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Prevention & Control: Opioid Overdose websites provide current information and statistics about the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic, and background on state prescription drug monitoring programs.
SAMHSA provides a series of 13 fact sheets designed to increase awareness of the risks associated with prescription opioid use and misuse
Help is available
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
1--800-662-HELP (4357) SAMSHA
Related Resources on the Families Connected website for:
Our 2018 South Bay Opioid Awareness Event
In the spring of 2018, the City of Manhattan Beach, then Mayor Amy Howorth, and South Bay Families Connected hosted a free community event entitled Our Kids and Opioids: It's Time to Talk. The event included a panel discussion with Dr. Moe Gelbart, Executive Director of the Thelma McMillen Center and Cyndi Strand, Founder of Blankets of Love South Bay.
The event was co-produced and moderated by Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth. We are incredibly grateful to Amy for her passion on this subject, and for the message she shared with the hope of reducing stigma and sparking conversation.
The event was sponsored by the McMillen Family Foundation, whose donation to SBFC made this webpage and community outreach and engagement possible, and to Steel Partners Foundation.for their support of the SBFC Opioid Awareness project.
Thank you to the Manhattan Beach Police Department for staffing drug-take-back drop off boxes at the event.
We thank artist Jennifer Jenkins Dohner for creating this original art as post card giveaways for the event
Thank you to Steel Partners Foundation for providing a copy of the book Dreamland as a gift to all attendees.
Our 2017 South Bay Opioid Awareness Project Events
During Opioid Awareness Week, 2017, On May 16, Peninsula High School hosted a community screening of the short film "If Only" followed by a panel discussion.
Principal Mitzi Cress, SBFC Inspiration Award winner, welcomed 150 parents to the event before showing a personalized video from Mark Wahlberg, followed by a screening of "If Only" and panel discussion with James Wahlberg, Dr. Moe Gelbart, and Cyndi Strand. The event was co-organized with Mark Wiedenmann, Principal of Chadwick School.
Thelma McMillen Center provided Rx lock bags to the first fifty attendees, and Karl and Carol McMillen, in attendance, were honored by Mitzi Cress during her remarks. Warren Lichtenstein was thanked for funding James Wahlberg's travel to attend the screening event. South Bay Families Connected was acknowledged for helping with speaker coordination and event promotion, as well as for creating and organizing SB Opioid Awareness week throughout the South Bay.
Thank you to our 2017 Opioid Awareness Week partners for the following:
The McMIllen Family Foundation, whose grant to SBFC in 2017 supported the program’s infrastructure, it’s ability to reach families throughout the South Bay with substance use prevention information for youth.
The Mark Wahlberg Foundation for making "If Only" available for screening
Warren Lichtenstein and Steel Partners for his passion on the topic of opioid prevention for bringing If Only and James Wahlberg to the South Bay.
Mitzi Cress and Peninsula High School for funding the special audio visual equipment for the event, as well as staffing and hosting it
Mark Wiedenmann, Principal Chadwick School, for outreach to other area schools for promotion of Opioid Awareness Week
Thelma McMillen Center for funding the opioid lock bag give-away, and to Dr. Moe Gelbart, Executive Director, for presenting at the screening event.
Cyndi Strand, Founder of Blankets of Love South Bay, for presenting at the screening event
Beach Cities Health District for printing promotional flyers for both the May 16th and 17th events, as well as co-sponsoring the SBFC Speaker Series event at Hermosa Valley Middle School.
LSM Communications, LLC, for producing the South Bay Families Connected Opioid Awareness week, creating these collaborative relationships and events, and producing the Karl McMillen and Cyndi Strand videos pro bono.
Please Join Us in 2019!
All South Bay Schools are encouraged to join in this effort. If you would like education events provided at your school, or to participate in SB Opioid Awareness Week 2019, please complete the form below.