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White House honoring 10 leaders in combating opioid crisis

April 25, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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The White House this week is recognizing community leaders advancing substance use prevention, treatment and recovery in its Champions of Change program, with a particular focus on individuals making a difference in combating prescription drug and heroin abuse. Ten leaders will be honored on April 29 at an event in Washington, D.C.

This year's Champions of Change, selected from among more than 900 nominees, are:

  • Anita Bradley, founder and executive director of the Northern Ohio Recovery Association, whose efforts have included establishing a peer-to-peer training program and opening a recovery home in Cleveland.

  • Leonard Campanello, police chief in Gloucester, Mass., where the department created a safe haven for illegal drug users seeking treatment and spawned an effort that would become the national Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative.

  • Leslie Hayes, MD, a family practitioner in New Mexico who works with pregnant and parenting women affected by opioid use and who trains other providers in use of medication-assisted treatment.

  • Tom Hedrick, a founding member of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, who has helped expand the organization into areas such as training of parents and caregivers as coaches to other parents affected by a child's substance use.

  • Andre Johnson, founder, president and CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project, a peer-led organization that has secured more than $15 million in grants to develop prevention, treatment and recovery services.

  • Shawn M. Lang, deputy director of AIDS Connecticut, who also has chaired a statewide overdose prevention workgroup that has increased awareness about use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

  • Julio Medina, founder and executive director of Exodus Transitional Community, a former drug-involved prison inmate whose reentry program in four New York state locations takes a holistic approach to addressing substance use disorders.

  • Justin Phillips, founder and executive director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana overdose prevention organization that she started after the loss of her 20-year-old son.

  • Justin Luke Riley, president and CEO of Young People in Recovery, a fast-growing national recovery advocacy organization focusing on peer-to-peer services.

  • Barbara Theodosiou, who founded The Addict's Mom in response to the struggles of two of her children; the organization offers online and in-person support and resources.

The April 29 event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building wll be live streamed.