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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.


GRASP Retreat 2016

GRASP Retreat 2016

You're Invited!

When: October 13th to 16th, 2016
Where: Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina - 4000 Summit Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30319

hyper-arrow Retreat Sign-up is now over

hyper-arrow Hyatt Room Registration Here



"There is a universal in this world. It is the love of a parent for their child. This love has no limit. And as the child grows, becomes an adult, the love of a parent also grows. The loss of that child, the death of that child, the depth of a parent's pain cannot be described."

-- Denise Cullen, LCSW, Executive Director Broken No More/GRASP, February 10th, 2016 speech presented at the Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.


The GRASP 2016 Conference and Retreat will be held in Atlanta, GA. on October 13th through the 16th at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. The participants of this conference are families and friends who have lost a loved one due to overdose and other substance-related causes. We are a unique group whose grief is complicated by the stigma surrounding this kind of death. We come to GRASP to find comfort and support from others who have experienced this loss.

The GRASP Conference and Retreat provides a unique opportunity for those who participate to come together as a community and to find acceptance and solace for their grief. We struggled alongside our loved one as they fought this illness but this battle is one that we and our loved one ultimately lost. Many times this loss was unaccepted by others as being worthy of compassion. They did not understand. But those of us who have experienced this kind of disenfranchised loss, we do understand. We share an experience, and through this experience, a bond. This bond, it is an unwanted one. But, as such, it is all the stronger.

Registration for the GRASP Conference and Retreat can be accessed here. The Early Bird registration fee is $245 until June, 30th with a General Registration fee of $300 from August 1st to September 13th at which time registration will be closed. Refunds will be 100% prior to August 13th, 75% between August 14th and 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.

Reception and Introductions

Denise Cullen, LCSW, is the Executive Director of Broken No More/Grasp. She received her MSW from the University of Southern California's
School of Social Work in 1993. For many years (1992-2003) Denise worked in the field of HIV/AIDS. The majority of her patients were terminally ill. She, thus, has professional and personal experience in death, dying, and grief. Since 2009, with the founding of Broken No More, Denise has devoted her life to advocacy in the field of drug policy reform and to providing support for those suffering the loss of a loved one through her leadership of GRASP.

Gary Cullen is V.P. of Development and CFO of Broken No More/GRASP. He uses his 30 years as a successful business owner to operate the sales, marketing, and financial issues of Broken No More/GRASP. He prefers to remain behind the scenes in this work, to let others be the public face of this organization, but for this his dedication is no less great. It is because of his business acumen and his efforts that Broken No More/GRASP has become the successful organization that it is. And why it has succeeded in helping so many.
On August 5th, 2008, Denise and Gary Cullen lost their only child, their son, to an overdose. His name is Jeff. He is forever 27.

Grieving Loss after a Substance Passing, Understanding Disenfranchised Grief, Reducing Pain, and Developing of Strategies for Healing and Support.

Julie Siri, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years' experience in death, dying and bereavement. She has a Master's degree in psychology from California State University, San Bernardino and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

Julie's career began at the height of the AIDS epidemic where she witnessed and experienced the impact stigma has on the grief process. Over the years she has utilized these experiences to provide support and insight to families and loved ones on their journey through grief. She is recognized as an expert in the field of disenfranchised grief.

Dealing with the Media in Times of Grief

Tommy McDonald is Deputy Director of Media Relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. He earned his B.A. at Tennessee State University and began his career in journalism 1991. In late 2001 he joined Children Now, a nationally recognized child advocacy organization based in Oakland. Tommy has managed national media campaigns on social justice issues, such as juvenile justice, consumer litigation, affordable housing, drug policy, human rights and gun control.

Addiction: Personal Histories, Harm Reduction, and the Brain

Julia Negron is a Certified Addiction Specialist (C. A. S.). She lost both her mother and her sister to drug overdose and her youngest son has struggled with heroin dependence for most of his adult life. She has been in personal recovery since 1985. Julia is a Board Member of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) and Floridians For Recovery, founder of The Suncoast Harm Reduction Project, a co-founder of Moms United to End the War on Drugs, and an Advisory Board Member of Broken No More.

Sam Snodgrass, PhD is a Board Member of Broken No More. He has a Doctorate in Biopsychology from the University of Georgia (1987) and was the recipient of a National Institute on Drug Abuse Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. After completion of his post-doc, he was asked to remain as a faculty member of this department and served as a Research Assistant Professor. He currently works in a Buprenorphine Clinic in Little Rock, AR. Sam has a decades long history of opioid addiction. He has been well since 2011.

Grief to Advocacy: An Interactive Panel Presentation

Moderator: Asha Bandele

Asha is the Senior Director of Grants, Partnerships and Special Projects at the Drug Policy Alliance. She is also an award-winning author and journalist, the stepmother of a son lost to drug war violence and the mother of 16 year old Nisa whose stunning Huffington Post article on young people and drug education was shared by thousands.

Panel Participants: Denise Cullen, LCSW; Julia Negron, C. A. S.; Kim Brown, RN; Tami Olt, MD.; Lisa Wilkins, and Laura Cash.

Journaling Your Grief: Healing Through the Use of Words.

Asha Bandele


“There is a universal in this world. It is the love of a parent for their child. This love has no limit. And as the child grows, becomes an adult, the love of a parent also grows. The loss of that child, the death of that child, the depth of a parent’s pain cannot be described.”

Denise Cullen, LCSW, Executive Director Broken No More/GRASP, February 10th, 2016 speech presented at the Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The Long Walk of Moms and Dads After Overdose

Submission Date: August 28, 2015
Attributing Author: Denise Cullen

It's a hard road, the one that we walk after our children die from a drug overdose. It's a walk that numbs your feet from the miles of isolation and grief. So many Orange County moms and dads are on this road now, too many of them. I'm only one of thousands. The White House is now trying to grapple with the problem (In heroin fight, White House tries to break down walls between public health, police, August 16, 2015), but they will likely fall short. A strategy that doesn't prioritize empowering people who use drugs to save their own lives and the lives of their peers by making the opiate overdose reversal medicine naloxone far more readily available to them is doomed to disappoint expectations. Ask a parent of a child who could have been saved by naloxone, they'll tell you.

hyper-arrow Click here to see video and read the entire article.

International Overdose Awareness Day 2015


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

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 affected by or lost to overdose are coming together to increase awareness of the overdose epidemic in the United States and to promote measures to effectively prevent such tragic losses.

Heroin overdoses have quadrupled in the last decade and deaths due to drug overdose have more than doubled since 1999 making drug overdose the leading cause of injury death in the United States with rates that surpass even motor vehicle accidents. “One hundred twenty people are dying every day across the U.S. to drug overdose. We’re losing an entire generation of people and it doesn’t matter if you have money, what color you are, or how much education you have” said Denise Cullen, executive director of GRASP and Broken No More.

GRASP was founded to provide sources of help, support and compassion for families or individuals who have had a loved one die as a result of substance use or addiction. With 100 chapters across the United States and Canada, GRASP provides compassionate support to more than 2500 members affected by a substance related death.

Many GRASP members, including Cullen, are parents who share in the tragic and unique challenges of grieving the loss of a child to overdose. Cullen describes the loss of her son Jeff in 2008 in this video produced for Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s a very different thing to lose your child than to lose a parent, a partner or any other relationship. I’ve lost all those things and it’s nothing compared to this, especially after you fight with them for so long, you struggle with them and you have hopes that things are going to be okay. So when this happens, there are no more choices, no more chances, no more hope.”

Cullen and other parents across the country are joining together and transforming their grief into activism to prevent others from having to suffer such tragic losses. International Overdose Awareness Day provides an opportunity for families to memorialize lost loved ones and to advocate for change. Broken No More and partnering organizations such as A New PATH and Moms United to End the War on Drugs are promoting efforts to end the stigma of addictive illness and championing drug policy reform rooted in evidence, compassion and dignity.

According to this CDC report, these parents’ efforts, along with those of drug policy reformers and harm reduction activists, have been rewarded with success. Since 2010, there has been a 90 percent increase (from 16 to 30) in states with at least one organization distributing naloxone (the medication that reverses the effects of an opiate overdose). The previous five years have also seen a reported 187 percent increase in the number of laypersons provided naloxone kits, which has resulted in a 160 percent increase in the number of reported overdose reversals.

Several states have passed laws allowing pharmacies to distribute naloxone and the overdose antidote is also now being distributed by some primary care clinics, emergency rooms and drug treatment centers. While this progress is remarkable and inspires hope, there is work yet to be done.

According to the aforementioned report, despite the successes, 50 percent of responding organizations cited a lack of resources to sustain or increase naloxone distribution sufficiently to meet community needs. And while 82.8 percent of laypersons who reported successfully using naloxone to reverse an overdose were characterized as ‘people who use drugs,’ much of the federal and community overdose prevention funding has been reserved primarily to equip first responders, such as police and firefighters, with this life saving medication. While it is advantageous for first responders to carry naloxone, expanding distribution where it is most needed and most effective-namely into the hands of drug users and their loved ones-is a priority for those campaigning for an end to the overdose epidemic.

International Overdose Awareness Day, started by the Salvation Army in Australia in 2001, is an opportunity for people around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. Many participating countries also use this day to send a strong message to current and former drug users that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.

Watch the video and learn more about GRASP/ Broken No More’s advocacy efforts here.

The public is invited to attend the events listed below. To learn more about GRASP visit

GRASP/ Broken No More & Partners 2015 International Overdose Awareness Day Events. August 29-31.

Huntington Beach, CA
Date:  Sunday, August 30th
Time:  5:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Huntington Beach Pier
Contact: Denise Cullen 714-602-8616
Gretchen Burns Bergman 619-670-1184

Denver, CO
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  2:00pm - 5:00pm
Location:  231 E Colfax

Newark, DE
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Location: Rte 896 and Main Street
Old University of Delaware Campus

Englewood, FL
Date: Sunday, August 30th
Time: 11:00am
Location: Ricaltini's Bar and Grille
1997  Kentucky Ave

Davenport, IA/Rock Island, IL 
Quad Cities Overdose Awareness Walk
Date:  Saturday, August 29th
Time:  8:00am
Location:  Lafayette Park/Schweibert Park

Carpentersville, IL
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  3:00pm - 5:30pm
Location:  Village Hall/ Police Station

Chicago, IL
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  1:00pm - 3:00pm
Location:  Federal Plaza
230 South Dearborn Street

Ottowa, IL
Date:  Saturday, August 29th
Time:  10:00am
Location:  Washington Park Historic District

Gardner, MA
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location:  Monument Park

Towson, MD
Date:  Sunday, August 30th
Time: 7:00pm
Location:  Towson Courthouse Fountain Square
Philadelphia, PA
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  8:00pm
Location:  Lion's Park, Fox Chase
7900 Oxford Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  12:00pm
Location:  Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
328 6th Ave

Wilkes-Barre, PA
Date:  Sunday, August 30th
Time:  3:00pm - 6:00pm
Location:  Kirby Park
Contact:  coolbaugh324

Austin, TX
Date: Sunday, August 30th
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
Location:  Steps of the State Capitol Building
Contact: Mark Kinzly at markkinzly22  860-724-5339

Berryville, VA
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  4:00pm - 8:30pm
Location: Rose Hill Park & Gazebo East Main Street
Contact:  Lisa Wilkins: 540-313-2484

Roanoke, VA
Date:  Sunday, August 30th
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Garst Mill Park
Contact:  dereckshope

Berlin, VT
Date:  Monday, August 31st
Time:  6:00pm - 8:30pm
Location: 445 Industrial Lane

Contact: Denise Cullen | 714-865-7879 | denisecullen

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Sheds Light on Overdose Crisis and Life-Saving Solutions

Denise A. Cullen

Date: November 14, 2013
Author: Denise Cullen
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and CEO, Broken No More
Source: The Huffington Pot

As a mother of a son who died from an accidental drug overdose, I was encouraged to see CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report of a real-life overdose reversal using the opioid-antidote naloxone. The report brought valuable information to people who may not have been aware of this underutilized, life -saving tool.

My only child, Jeff, died in 2008 at the age of 27 after a twelve-year struggle with substance use disorder. Our family fought hard, struggled alongside him, doing everything we possibly could to help him achieve remission. He died anyway. Naloxone could have saved him.

To Read the Entire Article Click Here.

Yusef Roge’ Kallab

Submitted by: Kallab Family
Born: 1982
Died: 2009
My Tribute: My son was severely injured in a motorcycle accident resulting in a broken back. He spent two months in the hospital due to complications and was on intravenous morphine and opiate based drugs. I raised my concern about addiction to his Doctor at the time and he told me, “We worry about the pain now and we will deal with the addiction later.” But there was no help for addiction later. Insurance doesn’t cover much, if any, addiction treatment and the cost of long-term treatment is beyond what any normal family can afford.