“The Opposite of Addiction is Connection”
Co-founders of Hopedealers Worldwide, Pete and Nadine Psareas, are no strangers to the heartache of heroin addiction. Their 26-year old son is a recovering addict and they understand the probability of relapse all too well. Their son has struggled with substance abuse since he was 15. It led him to jail, to job loss, to alienation with his family. Over the years he has lost several close friends who have overdosed on heroin. Today he has been clean and sober for several years but is conscious to the fact, he is still at risk for relapse.
What started as a family’s desperate search for ways to support their son and the thousands of young people struggling with addiction-well beyond medications and traditional counseling, proved to be the springboard to a new and innovative approach to reducing the risk of relapse. The goal is to create that high, the euphoria addicts seek through heroin and other substances, through life-changing experiences, reconnection of relationships, a sense of belonging, travel, and volunteerism. With the help of a network of caring adults willing to do whatever it takes to help others stay off drugs and on the road to successful recovery, substance abusers can find a new joy in life, purpose, a feeling of self-worth and the empowering optimism to know they can beat addiction, feel like they belong, are part of something impactful, and can function successfully once again.
It is the mission of Hopedealers Worldwide to foster a purpose in life, confidence, self-worth and joy; to offer assistance to support consistent recovery success for individuals facing addiction along with those family and friends touched by the disease of addiction; to facilitate repair, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation of relationships affected by addiction.
We provide support services including community resource referrals, transportation aid to access timely treatment and counseling, and educational scholarships for recovering addicts to obtain their Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification; this is accomplished through life-enhancing experiences, events, state certified training workshops, regular innovative support group meetings, and international volunteerism made available to those committed to recovery as well as their friends and families.
Today, the Hopedealers Worldwide team includes a founder, co-founder, vice president, secretary, treasurer, international service member, special advisory board member, and a peer support board member. The team is committed to the mission of Hopedealers Worldwide and helping our participants reach sobriety.
Heroin Addiction is escalating at an incomprehensible rate around the globe. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin use has increased across America among both men and women, all age groups, and all socio-economic levels. There are over 22 million addicts in the USA. Surprisingly, the greatest increases are among demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and those with incomes well above the national median. Heroin is not the only opioid easily accessed and abused, there are multiple substances, ranging from prescription painkillers to cocaine.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. This is a 250% increase has surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths.
Sadly, finding potentially successful treatment options are not keeping pace with the skyrocketing number of new addicts. Relapse in recovery is all too common: on average 90% of users will relapse within the first three months of their recovery. And the most terrifying statistic facing families today: the largest group of abusers are young adults, age 18-24. No family, no matter how wealthy, loving and protective of their children they are, can escape the fact that yes, this could happen to them too.
In the metropolitan Atlanta Georgia area, the launch pad for Hopedealers Worldwide, the NBC television affiliate WXIA has coined the most affluent suburbs as “The Triangle”—the highest number and fastest growing concentration of new addicts has increased over 4,000% in Georgia’s wealthiest counties: Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, and now Cherokee.
Population Served, Programs and Outcomes
One of the goals for Hopedealers Worldwide is to help those fighting addictions not only find hope but also get back on their feet. We accomplish this goal by providing several different services. Once in recovery, we recognize that rejoining the mainstream of life can be challenging.
-We provide group Voluntourism service projects annually building bottle schools in Guatemala.
-We provide monthly state certified workshops to allow those in recovery to receive an education that will certify them for the CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Certificate)
-We provide local Hopedealers life-giving support groups biweekly.
-We provide an array of local support services and a wide array of resources.
One of the barriers that may exist is difficulty finding employment as often recovery addicts have not had a consistent employment history and have found themselves explaining a criminal record to potential employers. Also, they simply do not know where to start. We refer them to a professional career assessment specialist who helps them find their strengths and passions. We also provide an educational opportunity for our clients to earn their CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Certificate) so that they may procure employment in an area that many addicts find fulfilling, helping another addict find the road to recovery.
Another area that the population we serve needs help with is with medical and insurance resources. Hopedealers Worldwide has resources and support to make sure their sobriety continues with access and means to receive appropriate care. Private insurance and Medicaid rarely cover the full costs of all needed levels of treatment for a recovering addict. And without lots of cash on hand, no one can access the care options available we aid with:
-Identifying resources for local, affordable treatment programs
-Referrals to physicians and counselors
-Navigating private insurance and Affordable Care Act coverage with a professional licensed insurance broker.
-Securing access to opioid blocking medications
Hopedealers Worldwide actively seeks partnerships with organizations that desire to instill hope in those who are struggling with addiction. One way Hopedealers Worldwide achieves this is through teaming up with the Guatemala Bottle School Project. The Guatemala Bottle School Project, founded and created by the nonprofit organization Hug It Forward, builds schools for the poorest children of Guatemala. The innovative schools are built with “eco-bricks” created through recycled plastic bottles. “Hope is the New Dope” is the opportunity for recovering addicts to give back to children in dire need and experience the “natural high” of selfless volunteerism. Participants are not just recovering addicts, but also include anyone who has been touched in some way by the disease of addiction. The schools are dedicated in memory of those who have lost their lives because of a heroin overdose. It is a collaborative effort between the WorldVentures Foundation, “Hope is the New Dope Tour” with the Power of Peace Initiative and Hug It Forward.
Sustainability and Growth
Hopedealers Worldwide is pursuing funding that will enable us to meet the needs of our organization and those that we serve. Hopedealers Worldwide is exponentially increasing the number of young people and their families empowered with the tools to experience the high of dopamine through the support of and by helping others. This can help replace the need for anything else in their bodies to get high. We rely on community volunteers and funding to help a small team make a huge impact on the future of these struggling yet brave young adults.