The Chris Atwood Foundation

The Chris Atwood Foundation Our vision is to create communities where substance use disorder is recognized as a preventable and treatable disease so that people who suffer from it can experience the love, understanding, and support needed to live full lives in recovery.
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The Chris Atwood Foundation began in 2013 after the Atwood family lost their son and brother, Chris, to an accidentally fatal heroin overdose. He passed away at age 21, following a 6 year battle with addiction. The CAF is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that strengthens the addiction recovery movement through education, stigma reduction, and recovery support services. We do this through: - Educating the public about the disease of addiction - Training the public how to administer naloxone to reverse an opioid overdose - Increasing public access to recovery and harm reduction resources - Supporting recovery communities on college campuses - Stigma-reducing educational presentations - Scholarships to local Recovery Houses - Advocating for public policy changes that promote recovery

Mission: The Chris Atwood Foundation mission is to save lives from opioid overdose, support recovery from substance use disorder, and defeat the stigma of this treatable brain disease.

02/04/2020
Support SB667 Today

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: The house shot down our Good Samaritan Bill, but the senate version is still alive! SB667 is being heard TOMORROW afternoon in the senate judiciary committee. Contact your representatives today.

Tonight’s National Anthem, made possible by naloxone. A year and a half ago Demi Lovato relapsed and overdosed after 6 y...
02/03/2020

Tonight’s National Anthem, made possible by naloxone. A year and a half ago Demi Lovato relapsed and overdosed after 6 years in recovery. Tonight, she did this. It must have felt incredible for her! #harmreductionworks #recoveryworks #weloveyoudemi

Never underestimate what a small but passionate group of people can accomplish. Not only did our Expanded Comprehensive ...
01/30/2020

Never underestimate what a small but passionate group of people can accomplish.
Not only did our Expanded Comprehensive Harm Reduction Act pass through subcommittee unanimously on Tuesday, but the Virginia Department of Health just released preliminary overdose mortality data showing the boots-on-the-ground effect we are having:

EDIT:
VDH has change the way they report morbidity data so the previous numbers we reported were wrong. We can now only report on the first three quarters of 2019 compared with the first three of 2018. Adjusted data:

We have helped cut overdose deaths from all drugs in Loudoun county by 38%, and decreased opioid overdoses in Fauquier by MORE THAN HALF, in Arlington by 24%, and Fairfax by 13%.

Overdose deaths have risen by 20% in Prince William which is alarming and we will be directing significant resources there in 2020. We are seeking Spanish speakers with addiction experience to help us with this.

Our amazing partners at Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition have cut deaths by 26% in Roanoke and are expanding rapidly!

THIS is why Harm Reduction works. THIS is why grassroots, peer-led, organizations are effective and worthy of significant support.

Thank you sincerely to all who have helped ❤️

HB791 will be heard in the health subcommittee tomorrow at 4pm! It’s absolutely vital that delegates hear from their con...
01/27/2020

HB791 will be heard in the health subcommittee tomorrow at 4pm! It’s absolutely vital that delegates hear from their constituents TODAY to remind them of the importance of this life-saving bill. How can you help? You can send them an email in 30 seconds with this handy tool: https://aidsunited.quorum.us/campaign/24128/?embedded=true&

And other drugs*  If you live in Virginia, call or email your state representatives and ask them to pass HB791 to allow ...
01/27/2020
Opioids Are Killing More Than Twice as Many People as We Thought

And other drugs* If you live in Virginia, call or email your state representatives and ask them to pass HB791 to allow organizations like us to operate comprehensive harm reduction programs that are proven to effectively save lives, save money, reduce disease, and increase rates of recovery.

More here: www.chrisatwoodfoundation.org/advocacy-day-2020

Imprecise medical classifications have concealed that the opioid epidemic is somehow even worse than we thought.

01/24/2020

Learn to save a life! Come join us for our upcoming R.O.P.E. (Reverse Overdose, Prevent & Educate) Training this Tuesday, January 28th, from 6:00-7:00 pm. Free naloxone kits will be given out at the end of the training. The training will be held at The City of Fairfax Regional Library in Room 103. The address is 10360 North St, Fairfax, VA 22030. We hope to see you there!

We and our allies at Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition and Virginia Recovery Coalition had over 50 meetings today with d...
01/21/2020

We and our allies at Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition and Virginia Recovery Coalition had over 50 meetings today with delegates, senators, and legislative aids asking for support for three bills to save the lives and increase the health of people with addiction in Virginia.

We sat with lawmakers and shared our stories of loss, struggle, and triumph. We added faces and stories to the text of these bills. We gave voice to people who could not speak for themselves. And we listened to stories in return - from lawmakers and their staff, of their friends and family who have also died from substance use and lack of access to care.

Our successful day was capped off by “Danny’s Bill” passing unanimously through its first committee meeting thanks to compelling testimony from a member of our group.

Thank you to all who came from near and far, or called in, to make this possible.

Just because today is over doesn’t mean the advocacy is over. It’s just begun! Please call or email your representative asking them to support these bills:

HB532 to increase Good Samaritan protections to encourage people to call 911 if they are with someone experiencing a drug overdose.

HB791 to expand access to comprehensive harm reduction programs that stop overdose, reduce HIV and HepC, and get more people into treatment.

SB903 (Danny’s Bill) to enact standard operating procedures for treating people with behavioral health crises in emergency departments.

More information on how to do that can be found here: https://www.chrisatwoodfoundation.org/advocacy-day-2020

Advocacy Day 2020 is still on! Be cautious if you are heading into Richmond this afternoon, due to the gun rally, and we...
01/20/2020

Advocacy Day 2020 is still on! Be cautious if you are heading into Richmond this afternoon, due to the gun rally, and we will see you tomorrow morning.

Maybe, one day, we can bring THIS many people to the capitol to advocate for the health, rights, and dignity of people who use drugs or have substance use disorders. What do you all think? Let’s make it happen! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼

We can take a few last minute registrations if you haven’t already signed up: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/harm-reduction-and-recovery-advocacy-day-tickets-88157157431

Advocacy Alert!! We need all Virginians who support harm reduction and recovery to contact your legislators in support o...
01/17/2020

Advocacy Alert!! We need all Virginians who support harm reduction and recovery to contact your legislators in support of three critical LIFE-SAVING bills.

Option #1: Join us this Tuesday in Richmond for Harm Reduction and Recovery Advocacy Day!

Option #2: Call or email your state senator and delegate.

For more information on both options and the proposed legislation: https://www.chrisatwoodfoundation.org/advocacy-day-2020

CALL TO ACTION VIRGINIA RESIDENTS: On January 21st we are going to the General Assembly in Richmond to advocate for thre...
01/11/2020
Harm Reduction and Recovery Advocacy Day

CALL TO ACTION VIRGINIA RESIDENTS:
On January 21st we are going to the General Assembly in Richmond to advocate for three critically needed bills that will save lives and support recovery in our state. Please join us for Harm Reduction and Recovery Advocacy Day:

Join us for Harm Reduction and Recovery Advocacy Day 2020! We are asking Virginians who support harm reduction and recovery to gather at the General Assembly to advocate for three important pieces of legislation. Harm reduction saves lives. It stops overdose, prevents disease, and gets more people i...

We had an incredibly meaningful visit on Tuesday with the women in the HARP program at Chesterfield County Jail.  Photos...
01/09/2020

We had an incredibly meaningful visit on Tuesday with the women in the HARP program at Chesterfield County Jail. Photos of their peers who died from overdoses lined the walls of their unit as they shared about their struggles to get well in a system that sets them up to fail. It became clear that every woman there had suffered severe trauma before, during, and after their times of active use. Several cited the constant grief of losing loved ones as a challenge to maintaining recovery. Others said that they were treated at hospitals for overdoses and were released hours later with no help. Difficulty obtaining housing, employment, and providing for their children were constant hardships.

Sheriff Karl Leonard has paved a new path for law enforcement by creating a program that fully supports inmates with addiction while incarcerated and even after they leave. If a recently released inmate feels they are about to relapse or needs help, they can and do WILLINGLY come BACK to the jail for a night to reconnect. It sounds unheard of right? But why should it be? Why should effective support sound so extreme?

We are thrilled that Sheriff Stacey Kincaid in Fairfax is building the STAR program, modeled after this program. The Chris Atwood Foundation is proud to provide the family education component of that program.

We can and MUST enact innovative programming like this to save valuable lives in our communities.

01/09/2020

Have you ever revived someone or been revived by naloxone (ideally that you received from us?) Are you willing to share about it with national media and spread the word about the importance of accessibility to naloxone? If so, we’ve got a once in a lifetime opportunity for you and as a bonus - you get to meet a BIG celebrity. Message us or email [email protected].

Huge thanks to our friend Joyce Entremont for organizing a very successful narcan outreach event for us in Woodbridge to...
01/05/2020

Huge thanks to our friend Joyce Entremont for organizing a very successful narcan outreach event for us in Woodbridge today! Our Peer Support Specialists, Kristy and Colin, brought the overdose reversal kits and Joyce and her crew brought the food and clothes. 👍🏻

If you have an outreach program and would like to work with us to protect the lives of persons who use drugs or are around those who do, then get in touch!

We are proud to contribute to be one of these programs! “For the first time, the OSNN Naloxone Buyer’s Club, comprised o...
01/03/2020
Harm Reduction programs distribute one million doses of naloxone in 2019

We are proud to contribute to be one of these programs!

“For the first time, the OSNN Naloxone Buyer’s Club, comprised of 110 Harm Reduction programs in 39 US states and DC, surpassed one million doses of injectable naloxone purchased for distribution in 2019.”

by Eliza Wheeler and Maya Doe Simkins

01/02/2020

Start your New Year off right by learning how to save a life! Come join us for our upcoming R.O.P.E. (Reverse Overdose, Prevent & Educate) Training this Sunday, January 5th, from 1:30-3:30 pm. Free naloxone kits will be given out at the end of the training. The training will be held at The George Mason Public Library in The George Mason Meeting Room. The address is 7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia 22003. We hope to see you there!

It’s messages like this that keep us going. Just $12 can save a life. Would you consider making a last minute year-end d...
12/31/2019

It’s messages like this that keep us going. Just $12 can save a life. Would you consider making a last minute year-end donation today to save even more lives in 2020?

You can give here through Facebook or through our website: www.thecaf.org/donate

Real talk.
12/29/2019

Real talk.

Merry Christmas to all. To all who mourn an empty seat at the table.  To all our friends celebrating another year in rec...
12/25/2019

Merry Christmas to all. To all who mourn an empty seat at the table. To all our friends celebrating another year in recovery. To all celebrating the holidays in heaven. To all just trying not to be sick, to make it through the season. We love you, wherever you are and however you are ❤️

We had a wonderful time at our staff/board Christmas party! Thank you to all who came, all who couldn’t make it, and to ...
12/14/2019

We had a wonderful time at our staff/board Christmas party! Thank you to all who came, all who couldn’t make it, and to A Taste Of The World for catering this phenomena Filipino “boodle fight” for dinner!

12/12/2019

We are looking for spring interns to assist with communications, ROPE trainings, media postings, research, collecting and entering data, and fundraising for our growing nonprofit. This position is located in Reston with the possibility of some local travel and includes a small monthly stipend. Please, email Sonya at [email protected] with your resume or for more information.

Stigma at work again.  To prescribe this common treatment for opioid use disorder, physicians must take a special 8 hour...
12/12/2019
Addiction Treatment Gap Is Driving A Black Market For Suboxone

Stigma at work again. To prescribe this common treatment for opioid use disorder, physicians must take a special 8 hour training and there is a cap on how many patients they can have.

In contrast - every cancer drug doctor’s prescribe can kill you, and have much worse side effects, but have none of those additional barriers to access.

Some point to the black market for suboxone as a reason for increased regulation but the black market exists largely because access to legal treatment is so hard.

This medicine to treat opioid addiction is hard to come by — only a fraction of doctors can prescribe it. So some people trying to quit a heroin habit are turning to the black market for help.

May the naloxone be with you... (and contact us if it’s not!!)
12/10/2019

May the naloxone be with you... (and contact us if it’s not!!)

Substance use disorder and suicide have caused a continuing drop in US life expectancy.  We are at crisis levels and peo...
12/07/2019
U.S. Life Expectancy Declines for Third Straight Year

Substance use disorder and suicide have caused a continuing drop in US life expectancy. We are at crisis levels and people are beginning to realize we must start doing things differently.

There are many potential ways to work to prevent substance use disorder - and that work is incredibly important. We must also ask, what about the millions who are currently dependent? We cannot snap our fingers and have them quit. So what do we do?

One evidence-based approach to healing individuals with addictions is harm reduction. It shows people in active use that their lives are worth living, worth saving, no matter what they put in their bodies. It demonstrates that there are people who love them no matter how much shame they feel. It gives them hope in their darkest places. And it greatly increases the likelihood they will survive overdose, avoid blood borne diseases, and enter treatment. That is why The Chris Atwood Foundation is fighting for our fourth piece of legislation - a renewal and amendment of Virginia’s insufficient “Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR)” law.

This bill will facilitate the creation of harm reduction programs across the state that provide life-saving services to our most at risk citizens. CHR Programs in Virginia have served just 550 people, but we’ve modeled this legislation after our neighbors in North Carolina who serve 10,000+ annually.

More updates to come on how you can support this important bill!

For the third year in a row, life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped, a new study shows. Deaths among middle-aged Americans are driving the trend.

The Chris Atwood Foundation's cover photo
12/04/2019

The Chris Atwood Foundation's cover photo

Thank you
11/28/2019

Thank you

THREE YEARS after the Virginia Commissioner of Health declared opioid overdose a statewide emergency and made naloxone a...
11/26/2019
Virginia allows pharmacies to dispense lifesaving opioid antidote. But dozens refused.

THREE YEARS after the Virginia Commissioner of Health declared opioid overdose a statewide emergency and made naloxone available without a prescription, many pharmacies still aren’t getting it right. This makes community based programs like ours all the more crucial.

Contact us any time for free, no-hassle Naloxone

A standing order from the state is supposed to allow anyone to get naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug also known as Narcan. But employees at some pharmacies don’t know that.

Last chance to help us win $1,000!  Over 1,400 people have already voted and it’s competitive!  The Giving Circle Challe...
11/15/2019

Last chance to help us win $1,000!

Over 1,400 people have already voted and it’s competitive!

The Giving Circle Challenge, sponsored by the DMV Collective Giving Network, ends on Sunday, November 17.
Vote on-line by visiting: bit.ly/DMVGiving.

To learn more about Giving Circles and how to join the collective giving movement go to https://mygrowfund.org/dmv-collective-giving-network/.

The Chris Atwood Foundation is excited to announce that we’ve been selected to participate in the DMV Giving Networks’ G...
11/11/2019

The Chris Atwood Foundation is excited to announce that we’ve been selected to participate in the DMV Giving Networks’ Giving Circle Challenge! Help us win $1,000 and learn more about the power of collective giving and Giving Circles.

Vote online by visiting: bit.ly/DMVGiving or in person by stopping by the DMV’s booth at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market Sunday, November 17th from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm.

To learn more about Giving Circles and how to join the collective giving movement visit,
www.dmvcollectivegivingnetwork.org

10/31/2019

The best kind of a trick-or-treat! Happy Halloween

10/30/2019

**Reminder** The CAF has a R.O.P.E. (Reverse Overdose, Prevent & Educate) Training tonight at 6:30 pm. Free naloxone kits will be given out at the end of the training. The training will be held at The Merrifield CSB (8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Dr, Fairfax, VA 22031) in Room 1-408. We hope to see you there!

Address

PO Box 9282
Reston, VA
20195

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Videos

Chris’s Story

Chris Atwood was one hell of a guy. As a young child he was sensitive and deep, always looking for ways to help his family. As he matured he grew a zany sense of humor, able to make anyone around him laugh. Laughter was his medicine and he shared it with everyone, but it was also a mask, under which he hid deep pain.

He had a brilliant mind and intense depth of feeling, so he struggled intellectually and emotionally with the toughest questions in life. He had an uncanny ability to reach people on a deep level and thrived on relationships with others. This made him a great friend and listener, but his empathy for others also enhanced his profound sensitivity to the pain in this world. That, coupled with newly developing depression and anxiety, left him struggling to cope with his emotions. He discovered that self-medication helped him feel better, and when an older boy introduced him to heroin at the age of 15 he was instantly hooked.

He spiraled out of control rapidly - and before long admitted that he needed help. After that he was in and out of treatment 7 times over the next 6 years. Two years before his death he was stabilized on MAT and made drastic improvements. He went to support meetings and the gym almost every single day. He went back to school and graduated. He looked healthy and strong - we had our Christopher back! Unfortunately though, he acutely felt the stigma against people who use pharmacotherapy (MAT) for opioid addiction. He was pressured to go off his medication because he wasn’t truly “clean.” So he did, and less than two months later he was gone forever.

Throughout his battle he met many others struggling with the same pain he had. Chris’ greatest goal in life was to spread healing and laughter to those that felt like he did, and he was very good at it. Many of his friends from the 12-step community and the treatment centers he attended have said the same thing - to them, Chris Atwood was a light in a dark place. Some credited him with saving their lives.

May his light shine on forever through our work.

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Comments

Training in Oakton VA
This is the 1st video in a new series called "Addiction A to Z." Please watch & share! Video link: https://goo.gl/YAZGH3
I was just trying to make an admittedly small donation, but the Facebook link wouldn't let me continue. Please let me know when I can help in some small part.
I wanted to share that Melody Beattie wrote a wonderful book entitled Codependent No More. Anyone struggling with addiction or family and friends who have a love one who deals with it, this book can be a life changer!