WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — South Florida residents Michelle and John Makris are marking a tragic one-year anniversary this month by encouraging parents to educate themselves on the signs of substance use disorders. A board member of Hanley Foundation, John Makris and his wife Michelle are sharing the story of their son Brice to call attention to a free virtual parenting series starting on March 25 presented by Hanley Foundation, a nonprofit leader in substance misuse prevention. Open to the public, the series is titled “Some Days We Thrive; Others We Survive” and features a variety of authors and parenting experts headlining four online sessions.
“I tell people who call me for advice to look for the signs,” said Michelle Makris. “As parents, we always blame ourselves when something happens to our children. I have learned that Brice was dealing with a terrible disease. I just wish I had known more about it and had been able to see its signs. The free series is a wonderful resource for all parents and offers conversation starters to connect with children of all ages.”
The Makrises lost their youngest son, Brice, in March 2020 to a Fentanyl overdose. At 23-years-old, Brice had recently graduated from Florida State University with a biology degree. An all-around good student, athlete, former camper and camp counselor, and “everyone’s best friend,” Brice was born and raised in Florida. Michelle says their family is incredibly close, and when Brice began experiencing signs of depression in his senior year at FSU, he reached out to his parents often as he wrapped up his studies and planned to come home.
“We were so focused on his mental health and getting the help we thought he needed for his depression that we never realized he was in a life-or-death struggle with opioids,” said John Makris. “When he did ask for our help for his addiction, he went through a local treatment program and was in a sober home after. Sadly, it just took one time of using drugs laced with Fentanyl for us to lose him just a year ago.”
Designed to offer an interactive opportunity for education and parenting tips, the series is scheduled monthly at 7:30 p.m., on March 25 (Dr. Michele Borba), April 22 (Jessica Lahey), May 19 (Officer Jermain Galloway) and June 24 (Dr. DeBenedittis). The programming will address topics including: how to help preschool to high-school students navigate anxiety and stress; tips on raising healthy kids who are free from substance use; drug culture trends in our community and how parents can spot the signs; and the importance of challenging the ways kids see drugs and alcohol portrayed in the media.
“Hanley Foundation is all about family, and family time is time well spent,” said Jan Cairnes, Hanley Foundation CEO. “We know that family time, education and connection are keys to preventing substance misuse. We are offering this parenting series to increase awareness and hopefully change minds around the stigma of addiction. In the end, our goal is really to save lives. While the series is hosted virtually due to the pandemic, we also know that the pandemic is why so many families are feeling unprecedented strain and stress, and substance use is on a dramatic rise.”
“Before he passed, Brice told us his goal was to save 100 men and women from this insidious disease,” said John Makris. “His goal is now our mission. Together with the resources Hanley Foundation has to offer, we are striving to honor our son and save lives.”
To learn more, please visit hanleyfoundation.org or contact Hanley Foundation’s Chief Program Officer Ryan Wertepny at 561-268-2351.
SOURCE Hanley Foundation