By Lisa Capobianco
When North Haven resident Joanne Hoffman learned that her daughter had a problem with drug use in 2009, she turned to Mary Marcuccio, the founder of Parents for a Change (P4AC).
“Mary saved my daughter’s life,” said Hoffman, calling Marcuccio a good friend. “She was with me every step of the way.”
P4AC, a non-profit organization that began six years ago in Southington, educates parents on teen and young adult opiate abuse, offering presentations on the red flags as well as the costs and devices of different drugs.
Hoffman said P4AC stands out from other anti-drug support groups because it takes a proactive approach to helping parents treat their children’s addiction. After tracking her daughter’s every move, and contacting people she involved herself with, Hoffman helped her high school senior at the time seek treatment.
Hoffman said she would not have been able to do this without the help of Marcuccio.
“She helped us to be strong,” Hoffman said. “She is an amazing listener.”
After completing rehabilitation treatment in 11 months, Hoffman said her daughter is now completely sober, and attends college with the goal of pursuing a career in social work to help people seeking treatment for drug addictions.
“I just want people to understand that it is a roller coaster,” Hoffman said. “This is a process—the key is to keep adding tools in the toolbox.”
Although Mary Marcuccio has stepped down from P4AC to pursue her new company called “My Bottom Line,” her first organization will continue as a resource for education and treatment of opiate addiction. Marcuccio said her new company continues the mission of P4AC, but provides more hands-on approaches and interactions with families struggling with drug abuse. Calling education the “absolute key” to the treatment process, Marcuccio said she consults with parents from the moment they make that initial crisis call to the time they find a treatment center and beyond that. Marcuccio also provides resources through her company, helping families find the right therapist, lawyers and rehabilitation center.
“This is all about getting involved, and getting treatment for drug abuse,” said Marcuccio, who knows first-hand how it feels to have a family member addicted to opiates. “It comes down to parents being educated themselves.”
Hoffman, who has volunteered to educate parents and students on opiates in the North Haven school system, said she wants to serve as a resource for Marcuccio’s new company, providing support for parents who may experience what she went through.
“I want to help people who want to be helped,” Hoffman said.
Marcuccio said she will be available to clients Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for phone calls, e-mails and meetings. Monthly support meetings will take place at Mulberry Gardens, with an entrance fee of $5 per person and $10 per family to cover facility costs. Marcuccio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Capobianco