Monthly Archives: August 2016

Third Bi – Annual GRASP Retreat and conference – 2016

Drug Policy Alliancebnm_logo_600


We would like to acknowledge that Broken No More and the Drug Policy Alliance are sponsoring our GRASP Bi-Annual Conference and Retreat. This is the third Bi-Annual GRASP Conference and Retreat for which we have received their support.

What the heck goes on at a GRASP Retreat anyway? What can you expect if you attend the upcoming Retreat in October? Here are some of my experiences. The first GRASP Retreat in Tampa, Florida was a "trial run" of sorts - none of us had ever put on a retreat and the vast (vast, vast, vast) majority of the planning/scheduling/orchestrating work was done by Gary & Denise Cullen. Drug Policy Alliance helped with underwriting & providing excellent speakers. Margaret Alexander, Terri Dudar, Liz & Marty Perkins helped & many other GRASP members volunteered their time & talents. We learned a lot. The retreat was relaxing, informative, warm, sometimes provocative, and so rewarding. Oh, and there was crying. Perhaps the most precious things I came away with were the friends I made during those 2 days that I've kept all these years. I can't help naming a few names: Denise Towery Cullen. Elizabeth Perkins. Terri Lynn. Darleen Synnøve Berg. Margaret Alexander. Tamara Olt. Gary Cullen...... and so many more.
The next retreat was even better. Julie Siri spoke to us about the journey that is grief - assuring, comforting and educating us about the arc of grief and the impact of disenfranchised grief that often accompanies a loss due to substance abuse. Her years of practice in this area is evidenced in her special brand of understanding. Oh, and there was some crying. Julie will be back for our third Retreat in October.

Eliza Wheeler from the Harm Reduction Coalition shared the story of her long involvement in this movement, explaining what the heck "harm reduction" (a term a lot of people weren't familiar with) is & how this special group of advocates help to save lives & improve the health of those struggling with drug dependency each & every day. Her special warmth, grounded as it is in a seemingly endless compassion, touched everyone in the room that day. Pass the Kleenex, please.

So yes, there was crying. But you know what surprised some of the people who attended? How much laughter there was. Who expected to ever be able to laugh again? We had many varied sessions at the 2nd retreat - one which I found so very heartening the panel discussion about creating our journeys from deepest loss into advocacy for change. With ideas from our fellow travelers on how they integrated the pain of loss with the accomplishments of advocacy with help from Broken No More, Drug Policy Alliance & (maybe most importantly) from each other. There was splashing in the swimming pool. There was a beautiful dinner. There were quiet moments sharing stories and memories with people we'd only "met" on-line here on the GRASP page. Some people shared their memories on film - you've no doubt seen some of the videos that have been posted lately. I remember standing behind the (wonderful) cameraman, Sam Sabzehzar, as he filmed those stories with tears streaming down my face as Tamara Olt, Julie Wendorf, Jim Laura Cash and others spoke of their children. It was a jammed packed couple of days of meeting old friends and making new ones. But most of all it was a meeting of our "Tribe" - it felt at times like coming home to a place where everyone "gets it".

This year's Retreat is going to be even better. We have some STELLAR speakers lined up one of whom is one of the most eloquent, powerful and moving women I've ever heard speak anywhere. I'm not sure I'm supposed to announce her name so I'll just say she's a Drug Policy Alliance rock star!!! Can you tell I'm rather excited about her? Yup! So I do hope that you'll be able to attend this year and that I get to meet each of you. You'll know me when you see me - I'll be the one crying... and laughing... and crying....and laughing.

This was written by Marilee Murphy, a long-time GRASP Member who has held a number of different positions for GRASP/Broken No More and is currently an Advisory Board Member and serves as a Retreat Planning Committee Member.

Thank you Marilee.

The Retreat will be held October 13th through the 16th at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. Registration for the GRASP Conference and Retreat can be accessed at  The registration fee for the conference is $300. We are limited as to the number of participants we can accommodate at the conference. We have only a few slots left and we will accept registrations only until these slots are filled. Thus, the stated closing date for registration of Sept 13th is contingent upon their being open slots at that date. If the slots are filled prior to this date, registration will close at that time. If you are considering coming to this retreat we, thus, advise that you register as soon as you can. Refunds will be 75% until September 20th after which refunds will no longer be available. The registration fee will include participation at all Conference events: The opening reception Thursday night, breakfast and lunch Friday and Saturday, and the Farewell Dinner Saturday night. There will be a special “Thank You” Dinner for Chapter Leaders Friday night. Travel and lodging are the responsibility of the participants.

Registration for the conference will be held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Thursday, Oct. 13th.

The opening Reception will then be held from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

For more information regarding the presentation topics click here


Denise Cullen, LCSW, Executive Director of Broken No More/Grasp.

Gary Cullen, V.P. of Development and CFO of Broken No More/GRASP.

Julie Siri, LCSW, Grief Specialist, Board Member Broken No More

Tony Newman, Director of Media Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Julia Negron, C.A.S., Advisory Board Member Broken No More

Sam Snodgrass, PhD, Board Member Broken No More

asha bandele, Senior Director of Grants, Partnerships and Special Projects for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Grief to Advocacy Panel Participants:

Denise Cullen, LCSW

Julia Negron, C. A. S.

Kim Brown, RN

Tami Olt, MD.

Lisa Wilkins

Laura Cash, MA

There will be opportunities to gather and to share our experiences with others who have traveled this same road. This road made of our grief. Through our sharing, we bond. We link hands, we link hearts, and no longer are we alone. We are brothers, we are sisters, we are GRASP. And we are family.

Daniel Garrett Zagorski

Submitted by: Mom
Born: I/85
Died: 7/16
My Tribute: My Dan... I miss you so much. The pain is unbearable. Your son looks for you. You were so smart and handsome and taken away to soon. May u be in peace now. U will always be close to my heart. Please keep Jack safe. Love you forever. Till we meet again.

James Adam Lack

Submitted by: Leona Murphy
Born: 1982
Died: 2016
My Tribute: It's been 17 weeks today since I last saw you I love you and I will miss you for the rest of my life, Love Mom

International Overdose Awareness Vigil 2016


We invite you to join us as we remember and honor individuals who have lost their lives to overdose, and to the failed war on drugs.

When: Sunday, August 28, 2016

5:00 – 7:00pm

Where: Huntington Beach Pier

103 Pacific Coast Hwy

Huntington Beach, CA 92648

5:00pm – Gather at entrance of Pier

5:30pm – Press conference

6:00pm – Walk Pier and Remembrances

6:30pm – Candlelight vigil and return to gathering spot

Accidental fatal overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S., and the leading cause of death among people who use drugs around the world. 129 people are dying each day in the U.S. from accidental overdose. We encourage sensible solutions such as increased access to overdose reversal medication naloxone & implementing Good Samaritan 911 policies.

Join A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) San Diego and Los Angeles, GRASP, Broken No More, The Drug Policy Alliance, Moms United to End the War on Drugs, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Center for Living and Learning, SOLACE Foundation, Paso Por Paso, NORML Women’s Alliance and Orange County Needle Exchange Program.

For more information contact: PATH: 619-670-1184 or GRASP 714-865-7879

Click Here to read the entire Flier

International Overdose Awareness Day 2016


GRASP/ Broken No More and Partner Organizations Host Events across the United States to Commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day

Grieving Parents Memorialize Lost Loved Ones, Celebrate Advances in Overdose Prevention and Call for Further Change.

International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31 st . On the 31 st  and in the days leading up to it, GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing)/ Broken No More and partnering organizations will convene rallies, vigils, and overdose prevention trainings across the United States in commemoration of International Overdose Awareness Day. From California to Vermont, parents and loved ones of those lost to an overdose are coming together to increase awareness of this epidemic and to prevent others from suffering the loss of their loved one.

In 2014, opioid related overdoses accounted for 28,647 deaths – an average of 78 per day. Overdoses from all drugs combined caused a total of 47,055 deaths in 2014 (129 per day on average). Each of these deaths were someone’s son or daughter. Their lives had meaning too, and their deaths may have been prevented if our drug policies were centered on health and safety instead of crime and punishment.

Click Here to read the entire Press Release

Mark Perrin

Submitted by: Marcia
Born: 8188
Died: 1191
My Tribute: My son Mark Perrin had a heart & mind like no other. His intelligence & wit could win anyone over. Such an immense loss for me. Accidental heroin overdose on 1/19/16. I miss him forever

Mark Perrin

Submitted by: Mom
Born: 1988
Died: 2016
My Tribute: Mark Perrin was my youngest boy out of 4 children. He was 27. He had a way about him that could win anybody over. Intelligent & wit beyond belief. I will never be the same without baby. Accidental heroin overdose, he struggled for years fighting the addiction. He deserved so much in life & could have achieved it. I miss you,son.

GRASP Retreat 2016 Program Memorial Ads

Honor a Loved One with Us

For the 3rd Bi-Annual GRASP Retreat, we are offering you an opportunity to purchase a Memorial Ad in honor of your loved one. 

Because of the devastation wrought by this epidemic, GRASP is growing beyond what we can sustain. Your donation will help us to offset the cost of the Retreat, and allow us to continue our mission in providing sources of help, compassion, and understanding. Your Memorial Ad will also give the Retreat participants a way to honor our GRASP Family and your loved one.

There are two options for the Memorial Ads:

    • Picture Memorial ($50): This ad is business card sized and will contain a 1.5 x 1.5 inch photo, your loved one's name and dates, and allow for a short personal message.
    •  Name & Date Memorial ($25): This ad is 1 x 2 inches and will contain your loved one's full name with the birth and death dates.

hyper-arrow Sign-up For the Program Memorial Ads Here

 Memorial Pages of the program will be available after the Retreat.


Justin Kelleher

Submitted by: Lin Kelleher
Born: 1980
Died: 2014
My Tribute: My son, my love, my friend, my supporter of all things. I miss his humor, his face, his hugs but most of all his caring of others. He has taught me much. I am blessed to have 34 years with him & will continue to keep his memory alive through love. xo