If you’re familiar with our practices at VRC, then you’re well aware of the Art Therapy program we have in place and how it has helped countless alumni successfully complete their recovery journeys. Well, truth be told, it’s a practice that’s seeing success nationwide. And even more exciting is the fact that it is turning ordinary people into amazing artists, with stellar paintings, sketches and textile work.
Over in Hartford, Connecticut, for example, a program has made statewide news. TV station ABC 3 covered the amazing progress coming out of a group called Artists Against Overdose (also known as AAO). The works featured here are changing lives many times over. Not only are there offering creative outlets for those in recovery, they are also being auctioned off; with profits donated to special recovery-based charities.
Benjamin Grippo is the founder of the program and told news reporters that his goal was to specifically address those battling the opioid addiction crisis. Some of the funds that come out of his auctions are being used to purchase the life saving antidote Narcan. Supplies would then be sent to first responders and local businesses, in the hopes that more fatalities can be avoided.
Grippo explained that he ultimately wants Narcan in every restaurant and every school throughout Hartford. As Benjamin told the ABC site, he was once caught up in a heavy dependency himself and believes his life was saved because of caring recovery professionals and the therapeutic effects of art.
“This epidemic and this problem is very dark and bleak and a lot of people aren’t living,” he added. “People need to know what’s going on. They need to educated, children need to be educated.”
2019 will actually mark the second auction for AAO artwork. Last year’s charity event was a resounding success, with over $9,000 raised to purchase Narcan for local businesses. Other charities supported by the show include The Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition and Connecticut first responders.
AAO has a full site devoted to its mission, which highlights the importance of Narcan and the pieces that will be featured at its upcoming March 30th gala. There is also an active Instagram page, devoted to Grippo and his advocacy.
Last but not least, the ABC site has embedded a full video feature on the movement. In it, you can get a more intimate view of Grippo and the cause that has become so close to his heart. We invite everyone to watch it in full, by clicking here.