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.
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.
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
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 - trying so hard to get his life back, but the demon on his back was unrelenting, and always there.
Throughout his battle he met many others struggling with the same pain he had. His greatest goal in life was to spread healing to those that felt like he did, and he was good at it. Many of his friends from Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and the treatment centers he attended have said the same thing - to them, Chris Atwood was a light in a dark place, and for some, they credited him with saving their lives.
May his light shine on forever through our work.