from changing the way we see opioid addiction

Opioid addiction is a brain disease, not a moral weakness. Treat it like a disease and people who are suffering will be encouraged to seek help. This can save lives. Hope stems from you.

Find out how you can make a difference

Addiction is a disease

Learn how addiction affects our brain, and our behavior.

Stigma kills

Learn how removing shame and judgment will save lives.

Treatment works

Learn about proven medications and see recovery success stories.

About #HopeStems

Learn how a bunch of angry florists inspired a symbol of hope.

Hope Stems from you

Share the content below with your friends and family. By educating others, you’ll help reduce stigma and save lives.

The science
of addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)1 defines addiction as a chronic brain disease. Opioids actually change the chemistry in your brain, including the areas that are critical to judgment, decision making, and behavior control. These changes may help explain the compulsive and self-destructive behaviors of addiction. However, by using proven medication, recovery can be the expectation.

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Opioids change your brain by flooding it with dopamine

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References: 1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics.

“It wasn’t solely addiction that took my son’s life. It was the shame he felt every morning when he opened his eyes that led him to wake up, research suicide notes, light a candle and take his own life, alone.”

– Gary Mendell, CEO & Founder of Shatterproof

Stigma kills

Blame, shame and fear of judgment push people who are suffering into the shadows, discouraging them from seeking treatment.

You can help remove stigma by treating those who are suffering with compassion. And by sharing this belief: people deserve treatment, not judgment.

Learn about stigma-reducing language here.

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Opioid addiction is not a moral failing, weakness, or lack of character. It's a disease that changes the brain.

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Treatment Works

Opioid addiction is a brain disease, and it’s proven that medications can treat it. Here are two people’s stories where medication treatment led to recovery and a return to the happier lives they deserve.

Marissa’s Story

“I went from a straight A student to almost losing my life to alcohol and opioid addiction. A freak accident led to my being prescribed hydrocodone for a broken ankle, eventually leading to heroin use and me nearly dying. I was described as the ‘sickest person in the hospital.’

“That’s when I turned things around. I have been in recovery since September 2016. I’ve gone from the ‘sickest person’ to a healthy mom. Every situation can always be turned around. As long as you are alive, there is always hope, no matter how bad it seems.”

John’s Story

“I spent 10 years addicted to opiates and benzodiazepines. I’ve been in recovery since 2017. The best way to remove the stigma is to talk about it. The more that people who’ve never experienced addiction understand about this illness, the more this notion of a defect of character’ will fade.

“I’m here because I struggled, learned, failed and learned some more. It’s important not to forget the dark places, because so many good people are there themselves. They need love and support. I’m here because people who loved me saw me as more than just my disease.”


“Of the 23 million Americans with a substance use disorder only 10% get treatment. This is staggering and unacceptable.”

– Dr. Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, DABAM, addiction expert

Our symbol

Inspired by florists who despaired at making funeral bouquets for lives lost to overdoses, a new bouquet was created. Its message? Opioids change the brain.

Florists combined two flowers: the beautiful celosia or brain flower being changed by black poppies that represent opioids. Hope stems from this new symbol and changing the way we see opioid addiction.

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#HopeStems from seeing opioid addiction differently

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Hope Stems from our events across the country

We are raising awareness and reducing stigma across the country, advocating for change in Washington, D.C., and transforming treatment so lives can be saved. Here are some of our upcoming events.

April 2-4
Hope Stems from Herald Square, NYC

Starting at 9am on Tuesday, April 2, stop by Herald Square in front of Macy’s. You can experience a unique floral installation that will change the way you see opioid addiction.

Can’t make it? Click the link below to follow along online.

April 22-25
Hope Stems from Atlanta, Georgia

Our campaign will head south to the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta. Drop by our booth to learn how we are transforming the treatment of addiction.

Click the link below to learn more about the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.


Hope Stems from you

You can help end the devastation of the opioid crisis. Learn how you can create change in your community and demand action from your politicians.