Moschino bag mimics pill bottle, makes mockery of drug abuse

This week, I came across a $950 Moschino bag shaped like a pill bottle. 

I was floored.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in  2014 almost 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to prescription drugs, and more than 14,000 people died from prescription opioids.

Why are we glorifying this horrifying trend that has taken so many of who we love?

It would be one thing if the purse was just a generic pill bottle design. However, after looking at the purse more closely, it has a striking resemblance to that all too familiar opiate prescription.

The fact that the purse has “May cause drowsiness” on it, makes me believe that the drug has some sort of sedative qualities, similar to what one may experience after taking an opiate. The bottle also warns to stay away from alcohol while taking this fictional drug, also a quality of opiate drugs.

However, the most disturbing part of this “fashion statement” was not the purse itself, but a comment left below the product.

Classic Moschino! Clever, Funny, and Beautiful!” said one commenter. 



Would it still be beautiful if you saw 10 pill bottles piled up next to your best friend’s bed?

This individual has obviously not witnessed the horror and destruction a pill bottle, similar to this purse, can have on someones life.

I understand there is a time and place for medicine. However, if we are going to get serious about attacking this drug epidemic, we cannot be supporting any mockery of it. The decision to create an accessory, so blatantly mocking those who have struggled with prescription pill usage, is a disgrace and should not be taken lightly.

If you have found yourself holding on to old prescriptions and do not know what to do with them, there are programs that either allow you to safely dispose of your drugs at drug disposal locations, or turn in your drugs to your local police department with no questions asked. 

There are options if you are struggling with prescription drug abuse and we at AMIRF are happy to connect you with those.

Prescription drug abuse is not beautiful, it is not fashionable and we need to now, more than ever, educate those around us about the dangers of prescription opiates.







Recovery happens and it does not suck

Addiction has certainly been in the news lately.

Whether it is a viral photo of parents overdosing in the same car as their children, or a video of a child attempting to move their mother who had passed out from an overdose, the situation can look pretty bleak. However, we need to use these recent events as reminders of how essential recovery is.

Addiction is a dark place. And when an individual is in the thick of their disease, mistakes are made. This creates a vicious cycle of using drugs to avoid the pain of bad decisions, then making bad decisions because of your use. However, the cycle does not have to continue, and if you allow yourself the gift of recovery, you CAN make it out alive.


Being able to wake up in the morning with a clear head, make yourself a cup of coffee and not worry about where your next hit will come from, is just one of the small but glorious pleasures of sobriety.

Re-finding old hobbies or athletics, such as water skiing or running, or being able to take a breath of fresh air and watching the sun rise. All of these are possible when you decide to take the leap of faith and go on a journey to sobriety.

Recovery is also not easy.

There will always be temptations and cravings and wanting to run back to the excitement of ripping and running.

But you will find excitement in other things, like the birds singing in the morning, or feeling your body grow healthier and stronger every day. You may also find it in your heart to help others find the gift of sobriety, as many at AMIRF have.

Recovery is possible, it does not suck and we are here for you if you want to see the other side. Because this time, the grass is definitely greener.




From Dope to Where?: What is hope?

Addiction steals things.

It steals our happiness, our best friends and a lot of times, our hope for a better life.

We say that we bring addicts from dope to hope, but what does that even mean? How can we be brought to hope when we have almost nothing left?

I typed in “what is hope” into Google. I don’t know what I was hoping to find, a dictionary definition, a blog post similar to this one, all I know is I was not satisfied with what popped up.

To see the meaning of something as elusive and profound as hope crammed into a few words just didn’t feel right.

I believe that hope is not just a word, it is a presence can be found anywhere in anything. But that doesn’t make hope easy. It doesn’t just fall from the sky into your lap.

Finding hope requires an openness, a willingness to accept it in ways you may not have thought possible.

Whether your hope comes from finally getting your butt to an AA meeting, a humbling phone call from a person who has been there, or the fact that you are still alive, hope is everywhere if you allow yourself to look for it.

I find hope in my pot of coffee in the morning. The fact that I woke up and had the motivation to do something to make myself feel better gives me hope. I find hope when I have no shame about wearing my “Heroin Kills” shirt around my college campus and do not experience any sort of resentment.

Sometimes, you may not be able to find hope on your own. You may need someone to guide you towards realizing that hope still exists for you, and that is okay. Hope will always be waiting for you.

Just allow yourself to be present for it.


From the botom of our hearts, thank you

After a full week of spreading awareness about the dangers of of addiction, I am filled with hope that we are making strides in helping people better understand this disease that has taken so many from us.

AMIRF is infinitely thankful to all those who donated their time and/or money to this fight that continues to rage on. All funds donated  to AMIRF are put directly into the foundation to help those in need. We could not do what we do today without your help.

With so much negativity today, it is difficult not to be discouraged. However, there are glimmers of hope in the dismal darkness of this opiate epidemic. There are so many people joining the solution and fighting to end this epidemic. We have the Surgeon General publicly addressing the issue, we have brave celebrities such as Brandon Novak stepping forward and offering hope,  we even have an overdose awareness day.

No one has to feel alone anymore.

Because of the work and courage of so many people, others are able to open up and realize they are part of something so much bigger then themselves. We are so thankful to anyone on our Facebook page who decides to share their struggles, stories and for reaching out for help.

Keep the conversation going, change is happening.


Who do we blame?

It feels like everyday I wake up to another horrific story involving heroin.

In my frustration and sadness I find myself quickly jumping to blame. “It’s the dealer’s fault.” “It’s the government’s fault.” “The individual should have asked for help earlier on.”

Somehow, blaming makes it easier to cope with the utter devastation heroin and other drugs have caused.

Is it a lack of education, community support systems, or the fact that 40-50 percent of marriages end in divorce? Is it a combination of all three of these things?

We may never know what exactly fanned the flames of this epidemic. However, there are ways for community members and loved ones of addicts to join the solution.

At the AMIRF Naperville Opiate Support Group, attendees have the ability to receive Narcan training and their own, free, Narcan kit. Narcan is an opiate-reversal drug that is typically carried by emergency responders. However, we civilians also have the opportunity to carry this drug on us in case we need to save someone from an overdose situation.

This Narcan is not a cure for addiction, but it is saving lives. And as long as we are keeping addicts alive, there is still hope for them to get proper treatment.

There are also opportunities to engage in events such as walks for National Overdose Awareness Day, Anonapalooza, or you may choose to submit a blog to this website. Any participation in events or activities that promote awareness and education will make a difference.

Opportunities to fight the heroin epidemic are out there. So, if we choose not to take advantage of them, then the only person to really blame is ourselves.

Breaking: Tim Ryan Releases Teaser From Chapter One of New Book “From Dope to Hope: A Man in Recovery”


“This plane is definitely crashing / This boat is obviously sinking…”
(Lyrics by Modest Mouse, 1997, “Shit Luck” from The Lonesome Crowded West)
“Tim Ryan, please rise,” the bailiff called out.
My stomach tightened. My legs didn’t want to support my weight as I slowly stood upright. This was the moment I had been dreading. The heroin in my system made me numb, but not numb enough to block out what was about to happen.
“Fuck!” I muttered in disbelief that I found myself stuck between freedom and imprisonment. “Fuck.”
As always, I had gone to court alone that day. Just me and my lawyer. There was no sense in dragging anyone else with me. After all, I’d gotten there by my own doing.
My wife, Shannon, had driven me to the train station near our home in Oswego, a western suburb of Chicago. That train would take me into Chicago where I would stand before the judge in a few hours time. My daughter, Abby, sat quietly in the back seat. The three of us found little to talk about on the drive. It was raining, which seemed fitting. No one would want to go anywhere on a day like that, and my mood was especially dark, because I was going somewhere I didn’t want to go. I knew that I would be gone for a long time. To make matters worse, I had absolutely no control over the situation.

“Shannon, they’re taking me today,” I finally broke the silence of the drive. “I won’t be coming back.”

“You say that every time you go to court,” she said. “I’ll see you tonight.”
Oblivion soothed her for the moment. I didn’t share her outlook. I knew better.
“I’m serious,” I said. “If you try to call me after ten o’clock and my phone is off, they took me.”
“Yeah,” she said shaking her head, believing all would be fine. “I’ll see you tonight.”
I jumped out of the car, kissed my wife and daughter, and hopped on the train that would take me to my fate.
The courthouse would not be my first or last stop of the day. I had some “business” to take care of before I got there. I knew after court, I would be taken to a holding cell. And after that, prison. I had seen all the movies. I knew people who had been to the “big house.” Who am I kidding? I had already been a guest of the state prison system once before, so I knew full well what to expect. As scared as I was of what could happen to me inside those prison walls, I was even more scared of what was about to take place inside of my own body.
In the days and weeks ahead of this appointed hour, I didn’t back off my heroin use. Hell, I doubled-down. I knew that once the drugs started to leave my system, I was going to be dope sick. Then I was going to detox hard. It could kill me; I knew that much.
So I did what addicts do: I scored more drugs. First thing on the morning of my court sentencing, I called my drug dealer. Once I got off the train in the city, I took a cab and met him right by his house, which is not something drug dealers usually let you do. I guess I got lucky that day. More likely, my dealer wasn’t willing to pass up making some “easy money” on such a good, loyal customer. I had a $500 a day habit. I wasn’t stupid enough to think my dealer loved me; but I know he loved my money.
I bought sixty bags of heroin. I snorted 10 bags on the five-minute cab ride to the courthouse. I stashed the rest in a hole I made in my jacket. I wanted to take enough smack with me so I wouldn’t be feverishly dope sick in the holding cell. And I madly hoped that once I got in to Cook County Jail, I could see the doctor to help me detox properly.
I had been to prison once before, in 2008. I told myself that I would never go back. If you’re wondering what sent me there the first time, it was something stupid: driving on four revokes. That’s innocent enough, right? Drugs had no part in my incarceration. But where do you think I was going without a license every time I got pulled over? To buy heroin.
The cop who pulled me over the first time was Officer White of the Chicago Police Department. He was a nice guy. I thought it then, and I still think it now. He was just doing his job to keep the streets safe from people like me who get doped up and then kill people with their vehicles.
Eight months after the first citation, I got pulled over again. Yeah, nothing changed.
Do you know what else didn’t change? Who do you think pulled me over the second time?
Officer White from the Chicago Police Department. I was driving a different vehicle. That’s the only thing that had changed from eight months earlier.
I either had the worst luck in the world, or God had a plan for me that He was working even before I acknowledged His existence.
The officer approached my car and motioned me to roll down my window. “Man, you look familiar,” he said.
“Officer White, good to see you. You stopped me eight months ago,” I said, wondering in the back of my head if there was even the slightest possibility that my charm and winning way would get me out of this mess.
“Damn it, I told you to quit driving,” he said, shaking his head. He took my identification and returned to his squad car.
He was gone for so long, I started to believe that he might let me go with a little verbal lashing.
“Tim, this is a felony, man. I gotta take you in,” he told me as he cuffed me.
As a result of that arrest, I got sentenced to a year in prison. Back then, a year meant that you got out after just 61 days if you were a good boy. I made sure that I was a good boy for 61 days. I counted off each day, making little lines like prisoners in old movies used to do by scratching tick marks on the walls of their cells. I served my time quietly, and went right back out there.
I may have paid my debt to society, but I was still an addict with a diseased mind when I got out. While I told myself that I would never go back to prison, nothing changed in my drug use. Nothing changed.
As I sat on the train speeding towards the city that morning of my sentencing, I knew that today wasn’t going to go my way like it had the first time. I had hired the best lawyer money could buy, and he was able to delay my case for 21 months. But this time, matters were more serious. Way more serious.
Once I got inside the courthouse, I had to surrender my coat and other personal items. Please don’t find my stash, I thought as I handed over my belongings. Then I settled into the seat next to my lawyer, and waited.
Despite the heroin coursing through my body, my legs shook nervously under the table.
I thought of my wife, kids, and parents, and I wished to God that I could blame them for some part—any part—of this situation. But this had nothing to do with them. This was about my problem, not theirs. They were always as perfect as a family can be, and somehow I fucked it all up. And now I was going to pay for it. And even though they had no fault in this, they would have to pay for it, too.
“Tim Ryan, please rise,” the bailiff called out, shaking me out of my head.
I told myself that once I got out of this current mess, there was no way in hell that I would ever go back to prison. I was wrong. I would go back inside. But the circumstances surrounding my return to prison would be very different.
Presiding over my case was Judge Wattas, a distinguished, gray-haired gentleman. My lawyer told me he was a Sox fan and a fair man. I didn’t want fair; I wanted forgiving. I wanted a push-over.
My lawyer approached the bench, and I heard Judge Wattas muttering something like, “10-12, 10-12.”
I gathered from those words that Judge Wattas wanted to give me 12 years. I looked at my lawyer with a shrug in need of an answer. He mouthed, “Hold on, hold on.”
My lawyer and the judge continued talking, and then I heard the judge say, “3-3-1.”
My lawyer walked back from the bench and stood next to me. I searched his face for some sort of answer, but at that same moment the judge announced his sentence: “Seven years.”
The gavel dropped along with my hopes of a cake-walk sentence.
“What?” I asked my lawyer. “What is 3-3-1? Am I going away for seven years?”
“No. You got seven years total for all charged. You got three years, three years, and one year. With good behavior, you’ll be out in a year and a half.”
Whew. I had done two months before. Eighteen months was a helluva lot better than the 7, 10, or 12 years that I could have gotten.
Immediately, the bailiff took me into the back, and my thoughts shifted to how can I get my heroin into the cell with me right the fuck now?