Published on May 02, 2019

Ftom StopThePainNJ.org:

The Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris partnered with Life Center Stage to create an opioid awareness campaign #StopThePain, where the power of personal stories, photography and videos are used to bring light to how the opioid epidemic affects real people. StopThePainNJ.org has been created as a platform for the community to understand others' lived experience, find resources and, importantly, submit their own stories.

It is our vision that by creating this campaign we are able to impact the community at-large by inspiring hope, educating, and destroying stigma. With your help we can make this happen!

The #StopThePain initiative started with opioid awareness video spots airing in Morris County movie theaters and on online video platforms. These awareness videos featured stories from people with lived experience with the opioid epidemic.

Each month, StopThePainNJ.org features real stories from community members sharing their experience with opioids, substance use disorder, recovery, and stigma, as well as real-life solutions:

    • Michael Cavallo, musician, public speaker and winner of the 2018 Knock Out Opioid Abuse Songwriter's Contest was among one of our first participants. His story sheds light on how opioids can affect anyone, on the struggles of getting into and staying in treatment as well as hope that recovery is possible.
      • "It's not just about recovery. It is about dealing with personal relationships, getting a job and showing up for it. Learning how to budget your finances and food shopping when you have little money. Between my social workers, the Milestone House and CARES in Rockaway, I was surrounded by positive people that taught me how to show up for life. " 
    • Loren O'Donnell, a dad who lost his 20-year-old daughter Molly to the opioid epidemic, shared his story. For the past few years, Loren has been inspiring others through his prevention and recovery outreach, sharing his daughter's poetry about her addiction as well as his experience and original songs.
      • "I unleashed repressed feelings, I needed that. Thank you. I am forever grateful. " 
    • We are currently featuring Kelly LaBar, a person in long-term recovery since January 2003. Kelly does wonderful work in the recovery field as a CPRS and Project Coordinator for the Opiate Overdose Prevention Program at CARES. She is also an Ammon Foundation Empowerment Coach.
      • "When I started my recovery journey it was not an epidemic. I was one of a handful of young people seeking treatment. Now we lose over 100 people a day to an overdose and there are more young people struggling and seeking treatment. We have more options to help people find recovery, more advocates, more people recovering out loud, more treatment and recovery support for individuals and family members, more legislation. There is still much more work to be done but we are mobilizing and moving forward. "

The response to this campaign has been great, and we would like to see it keep growing to become something even bigger. We know that in sharing our stories, we engage people at every level " not just in their minds but also through their emotions, educating through personal experience. By focusing on our collective experiences and what has supported those affected by this crisis, we put everyone in a stronger position to undermine stigmatizing belief systems and lay out new possibilities for social change

To fight this epidemic it is going to take all of us! With your help, we can grow this initiative even further and #StopThePain.

Ways that you can get involved:

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