How Addiction Happens Announces Family Who Lost Son Focuses on Addiction Prevention Rather Than Treatment

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Your child may be skidding now towards addiction and neither they, nor you, even recognize it.

Gary and Chris lost their oldest son, Alex, to an accidental heroin & fentanyl overdose. Alex died on his 22nd birthday, in December, 2015.

After Alex’s passing, Gary, Chris, and their other son, Charlie, gave presentations to teens and parents at Alex’s high school. Two questions were asked most often, “How can this happen?” and “How can it be prevented?”

While grieving families often focus on facilitating treatment for those who are addicted, Alex’s family decided to focus on prevention. They want to help teens and their families avoid going down the path of addiction altogether.

Alex’s family produced a video, called “How Addiction Happens”. It was released in mid-October and already has tens of thousands of views on Facebook.

In less than 7 minutes the video covers why teens get addicted, how it starts, and how to work to prevent it. The video includes specific messages for both parents and teens. “The key is recognizing a pattern of behavior very early and taking immediate action”, according to Alex’s father, Gary. “When you get in a car accident in the winter, the accident doesn’t happen when you hit the pole. It happens 200 feet before, when you start skidding on the ice. Your child may be skidding now towards addiction and neither they, nor you, even recognize it.”

Most addiction begins in adolescence, according to a study from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia), so addressing teens is vital. And the cost to society from addiction is huge. The Surgeon General’s Report, Facing Addiction in America, states that over 20 million Americans have substance use disorders and the cost to society from addiction is more than $400 billion annually. Preventing even a small percentage of teens from going down the path of addiction can yield dramatic savings to society and help teens, their families, and friends avoid significant pain.

You can watch the video “How Addiction Happens” on:




Contact for further information:

E-mail to howaddictionhappens(at)gmail(dot)com. Gary will respond quickly.


The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. CASAColumbia (2011). “Adolescent substance abuse: America’s #1 health problem”, published June 29, 2011. On page 39, “Nine out of 10 (91.0 percent) people who meet clinical criteria for a substance use disorder involving nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs began using one or more addictive substances before age 18.”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2016). “Facing Addiction in America – The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health”, published November, 2016. On page III, “Over 20 million people have substance use disorders…” On page 1-2, “Substance misuse and substance abuse disorders also have serious economic consequences, costing more than $400 billion annually in crime, health, and lost productivity.”

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About the Author: Carrie Brunner

Carrie Brunner grew up in a small town in northern New Brunswick. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Carrie writes mostly on provincial stories.
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