NJ parents who lost son to drugs take their mission to D.C.
City of Angels began when Kevin Meara and his wife Maryann lost their son K.C to opioid addiction.
The definition from their website:
"City of Angels NJ, Inc. is an independent organization with no parent organization. We never charge for our services, including interventions, recovery support and other programs and activities. COA works with anyone needing help with addiction, whether or not they have health insurance."
City of Angels was asked again to participate in the DEA's Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on June 14 and 15.
I've seen Kevin Meara, who has been on my show many times, and his organization help countless people dealing with addiction. It's amazing how they've grown.
"City of Angels is always honored and to be honest still a bit surprised when invited to an event in Washington, D.C.," he said.
"We are a small 'mom and pop' nonprofit from Hamilton, yet we have presented at the First White House Opioid Summit, the First DOJ Opioid Summit, and now the First DEA Family Summit, which highlighted the ever-increasing overdose death statistic."
What were your impressions of the Summit?
"The DEA under Administrator Milgram is making it personal. All the top DEA people were involved with us at a personal level. They now have an exhibit in the DEA Atrium dedicated to the staggering losses. How much more personal can you get?"
What were some of the things that really got your attention?
"In a personal moment, I was moved by DEA Administrator Anne Milgram taking the time to look at COA's losses through the prayer cards, which I carry with me and she held. I explained that the system failed all these kids and while it’s too late for our kids, please don’t let the system fail our next generation. I invited her to come sit with us the next time she is back to her home state of NJ."
Any shocking moments or stats that made you turn your head?
"We all know what’s happening out there, but it’s more impactful when you are in a room with 80 mom and pop organizations that all suffered loss like you, felt the call to do something like you and then went and helped their community like you. They believed in us enough to share info that is rather confidential but demonstrated the dedication of the men and women at the DEA."
What did you take from it going forward?
"A partnership! We were promised that it doesn’t stop here, June 14-15, and that these were just the first steps. When asked to answer the question, what is one thing from the federal government that would benefit COA, I said, 'You asked us here, now please trust in what we do.'"
If you or anyone you know needs help dealing with addiction, click here.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
You can now listen to Steve Trevelise — On Demand! Discover more about New Jersey’s personalities and what makes the Garden State interesting . Download the Steve Trevelise show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.