Michael DiMaio and Independence Blue Cross Foundation president Lorina Marshall-Blake.
Independence Blue Cross Foundation and the Penn State Justice Center for Research partnered to host “Share Your Opioid Story” community conversations throughout the Philadelphia region in support of the “Someone You Know” campaign. The conversations focused on individual stories about the stigma of addiction and best practices to prevent barriers to recovery.
The five community conversations took place in all five southeastern Pennsylvania counties. Each event featured guest speakers and audience discussions about mental health and trauma as part of substance recovery.
One of the featured speakers at the Delaware county event in Upper Darby was Michael DiMaio, a recovering drug abuser who was in rehab and detox 25 times combined from 1989 to 2003. After battling suicide and depression, DiMaio received treatment and was introduced to a 12-step program. Today, has been in a recovery program for five years and is working to complete his degree in paralegal studies at Bucks County Community College.
Numerous personal stories such as DiMaio’s are being shared at each event to foster hope and empathy for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
“We aren’t bad people trying to get good — we are sick people trying to get well,” said DiMaio. “As long as that person’s alive, there’s hope. Recovery is possible.”