David Sheff Talks Addiction in Naperville

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After his own son Nic struggled with addiction for many years, David Sheff set out to share their journey, to help others.

“His drug use just continued to escalate and he got addicted to methamphetamine, heroin, basically used every drug you could name. Ended up running away from home, was living on the streets, I was able to finally get him into treatment. I learned what a disaster the treatment system is now, I got him help, he relapsed, over and over again, he almost died many times. He survived and we were really lucky,” said Sheff.

A local organization combating addiction and spreading awareness, ParentsMatterToo, brought Sheff to town to share his story.

During his presentation, Sheff talked candidly about how his son’s addiction affected the whole family, a message he feels needs to be shared.

“What I realized, very quickly because of the letters I got, because of the people I met, the people who called me, was that we needed to have a conversation about this, people needed to talk about this. If we don’t talk about it we’re not going to be able to help the people who get sick and who need help. And also it’s not just about helping the person who’s addicted, but to talk to the families, because families who go through this are traumatized,” said Sheff.

Sheff also discussed the stigma that comes with addiction and the need to support those dealing with the disease.

“We feel like there’s nothing we can do, but what I learned over the course of my research is that yes this is an illness that we can prevent, and we can treat it as well, we just have to understand what it’s all about, and in the past we haven’t,” said Sheff.

A message that resonated with those in attendance.

“David Sheff and his book are a fundamental breakthrough in people’s understanding that what we’re facing with the opioid epidemic is not so much the moral failings of parents or children, but a treatable medical condition,” said Congressman Bill Foster, Representative for Illinois’ 11th District.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.