Saturday, December 10, 2016


At the beginning of this week I wrote Rachel Maddow.  Since the night of the election, I'd been thinking about the relationship between drug addiction and alcoholism and locales where Donald Trump prevailed. I had not considered the suicide rate.  Should have.  Here, in part, is what I wrote to Ms. Maddow:

"If you take a map of those places where Trump scored, or where Trump changed a county from blue to red and then overlaid a map of opioid abuse and drug deaths, I suspect you would find a startling congruence.  I’m suggesting that a significant number of Americans in dire straights have taken to A) narcotizing themselves to relieve the stress they feel and B) voting for Trump as another way to relieve that stress.  Have someone on your staff, or even better you (where you would get the time I cannot fathom – but it’s worth it) read Sam Quinones’s book Dreamland – The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.

It’s no secret that Rob Portman and Tim Ryan both represent Ohio and both have done influential bipartisan work to address the epidemic our country faces.  Hillary Clinton got out in front of understanding the epidemic in New Hampshire and offered the most comprehensive and thoughtful plan to fight addiction.  I’m not sure she caught on to what I’ve come to suspect, addicted America is Trump’s America.
Check it out."

Today, thanks to a friend, I got to read this article by James Hohmann.  As I said to Rachel Maddow, "Check it out!"

Time will tell on whether Trump delivers anything of substance to people with these afflictions in these afflicted areas.  It will already be too late for those who have completed suicide.  Will he and his team recognize that our environment is threatened not only from the outside, but from our insides and from what we put inside ourselves?  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Action Is Eloquence

December 2nd is, sadly, the fourth anniversary of William’s death.  At his memorial service Elizabeth, Margot and I made the following pledge:  “We promise to do everything in our power to educate and inform people about drug abuse and its prevention, to provide ever more enlightened treatment for addicts, to help make treatment options for addicts more readily available, and to remove the stain of shame surrounding this disease. “  The eulogy concluded with a quote from Shakespeare, “Action is eloquence.”

We have worked diligently in the past four years to honor our pledge.  We have had the loving support of friends and family.  We have met many others who have suffered loss as we have.  We have met and been supported by new friends who are strong advocates for addiction education, prevention, treatment, recovery, criminal justice reform, research, and fighting the stigma surrounding the disease.  Eloquent all.

Since the founding of the Where There’s A Will Fund we have let the fund grow while we’ve attempted to identify those organizations whose work we believe has the most informed impact in the fight against addiction. This year, for the first time, we have made some modest grants from the fund.  As I wrote to each organization yesterday, “Our means are finite, our gratitude for you and your work boundless.” Because of the generosity of so many of you we have been able to recognize:

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

The Addiction Policy Forum

Facing Addiction

Friends of Recovery – New York

I encourage you to go online get a sense of the fine work these people do.

You can go here to get a sense of some of our work - our testimony before the House Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic: Families Impacted by Addiction  5/18/16

Our hope is to continue to be able to support these organizations as generously as possible in the future.  We will continue to work with them, advising, speaking, writing, participating in conferences and workshops, all the while benefitting from their wisdom and guidance.  We will always remain alert for new opportunities to recognize outstanding organizations. 
For those of you who feel so inclined you may support the Where There’s A Will Fund by contributing to:
                                                             Community Funds, Inc.
Fbo The Where There’s a Will Fund

The New York Community Trust
909 Third Avenue
New York, NY  10022

Thank you all for your support in all its forms.  Action remains eloquent.