Spotlight On ‘The Addiction Angel’
If you’ve earned a nickname like “The Addiction Angel,” then you know you’re doing something right in the world of recovery. And Staten Island-based nurse Alicia Palermo-Reddy wears that moniker with pride. Thanks to her charitable work with addicted patients and recovering users, she’s become a trending sensation and was recently profiled in The New York Daily News.
On her own time and with her own money, Alicia has been helping families with her nursing expertise. She has also self-educated herself on all of the components of recovery and offers free consultations with people who cannot afford proper treatment.
Palermo-Reddy told The Times that her activism began eight years ago, after seeing the devastating early effects of America’s opioid crisis.
“When I heard about heroin growing up, I thought about people in trailer parks with no teeth and black feet,” she explained. “Seeing these young, beautiful kids with sores on them and heartbreaking stories was very disturbing to me. The more and more that I saw it, I realized there’s a big problem out here that nobody’s talking about.”
Alicia began her work by setting up a hotline where users could call in and receive free emotional support. She would initially field through dozens of calls, offering medical advice and free resource information for people in need.
The hotline then evolved into a customized “Scared Straight” program, which now draws more than 100 people at a time. And though compassion is a major component of her practice, Alicia has also become famous for adding a bit of her own “New York tough love.”
“An addict doesn’t want to be an addict. He’s allowed to be an addict,” she added. “I don’t want you to bury your kid, so I’m going to tell you like it is. With this disease, you don’t have time to waste.”
There are also monthly meetings at a local church and one-on-one personal consultations with a wide variety of locals. Interestingly enough; Alicia revealed that she’s been sought out by wealthy clients, particularly because of her successful recovery track record. One, in particular, happened to be a senior executive at Conde Nast.
But, as she explained to The Times, Palermo-Reddy’s primary focus is underprivileged drug and alcohol abusers. Her goal has always been to help those who feel they have no one to turn to and for that, she has rightfully earned the title of New York’s “Addiction Angel.”
To see more of Alicia’s amazing work, watch this brief YouTube clip below…