So I was a paramedic in New Jersey for about 15 years. I am a physician. I’m still a physician. My child is Danielle Marie McCurry. Larry is my twin brother. My daughter Sarah. My brother Nicholas. My son Matthew. The type of person, that when she walked into a room, you couldn’t help but smile. I was actually also a World Trade Center rescue worker on 9/11. I was a very loving mother. We’re churchgoers. Drugs was never really a bad issue in our town. And we never saw it coming. So I had five major surgeries. Got injured a few times at work.
Just some minor injuries, but I got prescribed very strong painkillers. When I took my first percocet, it was like, “Oh my God,
there’s no more anxiety.” They did something for the physical pain,
but they did a lot for the emotional and psychological pain. It really started from my dad’s struggle. He always told me that he lived in a dark world. I went from marijuana to drinking, snorting cocaine here and there.
And then I was introduced to crack. The habit got to 40, 50 pills a day. It progressed to a lot of different substances. Quaaludes, percocet, vicodin. I had been writing prescriptions. I would go into waiting rooms, people would be trading pills. And then that wasn’t good enough anymore, and she started with heroin. Heroin actually became a financial decision for me. Buying a pill on the street was $30 or $40 or $50 versus a bag of heroin which was $7 or $8. And the addiction just took him over. I could look in his eyes and they were empty. There wasn’t a soul there. Lying. Manipulating. I lost my career. I lost my wife. I lost my kids. I went in my kids bedroom. I kissed them on the head. I didn’t see them again for a year. Been arrested 11 times altogether, 3 times as a minor, 8 times as an adult. I went to jail in two different counties. The Division of Family Services got involved. I made the decision to go to
court and give my mom [crying] the kids. Sorry. Last time I saw my children was on my daughter’s birthday. At a visitation center. We fought together as a family
for six years. Eleven years. Seven years. Ten years. My son was addicted when he was 13 years old. It only gets worse. And the result is prison or death. What am I worried about? That phone call that says she didn’t make it this time. She had a bad night at work, the next morning I went into her room and she was curled up in a ball on the floor. She had OD’d. There was an ambulance outside. They didn’t seem very busy and I knew
something was wrong. He had overdosed and he was in ICU. I knew he was gonna die. He knew he was gonna die. He went and lived with his dad on a Monday and on Friday morning he was
dead. Timmy and I found him on the floor, hunched over with a needle stuck in his arm. When I saw the police at the door I knew that he was gone. I kept saying, screaming, “Is he gone? Is he gone?” My son Christopher passed away on July 4th, 2007. October 18th of 2016. December 5th, 2016. Friday, September 13th. December 2nd, 2016. May 6, 2017. August 25th, 2017. My son, he died at age 40. Mathew was 26. 22. She was 21. My purpose at that stage in my life was more about me than it was about my son. I cared more about myself than I did about my son. There is not a second that goes by. You wake up and their name,
their faces in your head all day long. There is nothing worse, in this world,
than a parent burying a child. It’s out of order. Children are born to live a full life. This has killed in a year, more people
than died in Vietnam. Listen what I said, this has killed more in a year than people died in Vietnam. It’s enough. We’re done. We’re fed up. To end addiction, we need prevention.
We need every child in America to be screened at least once a year by a
healthcare provider in their school. We know the things that work, we’re putting
them into action so that we can help this country address this issue, head-on. Our insurance companies need to cover addiction the way they do other diseases in this country. We need to drastically increase funding to fight this epidemic. We need to improve the quality of our treatment centers. We need to do much better at understanding changes in our loved ones. We need better medical training on prescribing controlled substances. At Center on Addiction, we bring compassion and science to find solutions to addiction. Because it affects all aspects of our society. So this is the movement. Do something now. Join Center on Addiction. And do it now. Do it now. Do it now. Do it now. We need to come together as a country to address addiction. We can do this. We can do this. We can do this. We can do this. We can do this. [Music]