North Shore Drug Awareness began as a gathering place on Facebook. The founder, Tracey Janine Farrell, had recently been dealing with the death of her son from an accidental overdose and a daughter newly in recovery. During her son Kevin’s addiction, she found that she was very much alone when it came to finding treatment for him. Sending him to treatment for the first time in 2010, the hospital that he went to for detoxification was unable to obtain an authorization for him to have a continuum of care at a local rehabilitation center. Tracey took on the legwork herself and was able to obtain the authorization. Had it not been for her persistence he would have just been sent home.
She certainly felt alone as a mother of a person with a Substance Abuse Disorder. She knew of no one else whose child was also abusing prescription pills. Tracey certainly didn’t have the knowledge of what was wrong and right in dealing with his drug use. She struggled to find any help or resources. Kevin had been to detox and rehab more than once. Never did any of the counselors speak to her about what she should be doing to help her son recover. Substance Abuse Disorder is a family disease. It affects every single person in the household. Sadly, Kevin’s disease progressed to the point that heroin was the only choice for him financially. Kevin did reach the point where he wanted to be free of the daily struggle that goes with being someone who is addicted. He thrived at rehabilitation and began to live life again. Kevin was just shy of 90 days clean when his sister found him in his bed. He had passed from an accidental overdose at the age of 26.
Tracey was asked to speak and share her experience for the first time about a year after Kevin’s passing. Unfortunately, Kevin was not the only one dealing with heroin addiction as the abuse of heroin was becoming rampant in her area of the North Shore of Long Island. This is when she found her voice. She no longer felt so alone, she felt empowered. She began to collect and share as much information as she could find on local Facebook parent and community pages. She began telling her story. Her list of resources and contacts grew as she developed relationships with local schools, community organizations, politicians, counselors, etc. She was receiving messages from parents and family members who felt helpless as they struggled to find help and treatment for their loved ones. This led to the necessity to have all of these resources and information in one central location and North Shore Drug Awareness came to fruition. Every person who joins NSDA knows it is a place of Awareness, Communication, Education and Support. NSDA is a group with no judgment and a sincere desire to end the stigma of Substance Abuse Disorders. We share our failures and our successes to help one another. We share our experiences with facilities, doctors, and support groups. We support one another through some of the most difficult times we have ever experienced. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you are truly not alone and have the support of hundreds when needed.
As NSDA continued to grow and help people find the treatment they need through their large network of resources, Tracey wanted to do more. It is often recommended that someone seek treatment away from the triggers that home often represents. Too many parents have exhausted their retirement funds, the kid’s college funds, and even have taken out second mortgages to fund treatment. There’s a need to help people get to treatment. Tracey wanted to form a foundation in Kevin’s name to help with the financial burden that comes along with this disease. From this need, On Kevin’s Wings-Hope Takes Flight was founded as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization to fund transportation to individuals who were seeking treatment away from home. Whether it be by air, train, bus, or auto – On Kevin’s Wings will fund every person seeking assistance as long as it is a referral by one of their resources or they are going to an accredited rehabilitation facility. On Kevin’s Wings holds fundraisers throughout the year to continue to fund these chances at a sober life that every person suffering from a substance abuse disorder deserves. Please consider a donation so that you, too can give them that chance they so deserve.