Addiction is Real began with a simple question. How can we educate parents on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and provide them with the tools needed to guide and engage their children through this very rough and sensitive terrain? The circumstances surrounding our group’s passion to do more was unfortunately grounded in loss, but also a deep and passionate understanding of how important it is to speak to your child early and often about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
So many of us have been affected by addiction. Many of us have lost loved ones, or currently know people who are struggling themselves with drug or alcohol dependence. Although the need to want to help seemed simple enough, the conversation is one that comes with unfortunate barriers. It is reported that only 25% of parents speak with their children about the dangers of drugs. How can this be? Especially given the proven effectiveness of early engagement between a parent and child surrounding this issue. There are many reasons why these conversations don’t take place, but the main one that we have heard over and over again is that some parents just don’t think their child will ever have an issue with drugs or alcohol, making the conversation unnecessary. “Not my child,” is usually the phrase that we hear over and over again. Of course, the hope is that no child ever goes down the path of drug experimentation, but the reality is far different from our hope. Children are faced with all sorts of challenges and pressures along their journey, especially during their transition from elementary school to middle school, and middle school to high school. The reality is that so many of us take for granted the premise that our kids are fully prepared for the unfortunate day that they are introduced to something harmful. When this day comes, it is our hope that we have done our job and educated enough parents to help their kids avoid going down a path that all too often ends in tragedy.
Addiction is Real is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in St. Louis, Missouri whose sole mission is to educate parents about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and provide them the tools to take a more proactive approach in having these discussions with their child. Founded in 2015 by a group of concerned parents, we are determined to engage as many schools, groups, and parents as possible to push our message through. If you are interested in learning more about services we provide, visit our events page and/or contact us. We would love to hear from you.
Board of Directors
Jude Hassan was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and lives there to this day with his wife and son, Rachel and Kingston. Jude published his memoir, Suburban Junky, following the loss of his dear friend to addiction. Along with his role as a speaker and mentor to those seeking help with substance abuse, Jude works at Preferred Family Healthcare in St. Louis assisting addicts as they begin the treatment process.
Kelly Prunty graduated with a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. She and her husband, Kevin, live in St. Louis and have four children. Having faced generations of addiction in her own family, Kelly is passionately committed to helping parents understand the dangers of substance use and how they can prepare and protect their own children from the harrowing trials of addiction.
Pam Greenberg is an independent healthcare consultant who lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, Marty. Since the death of her son, Justin, on February 27, 2015 due to an accidental overdose of heroin, she has been searching for a way to educate parents, teachers and the community on this terrible epidemic. AIR has given her this chance. She wants everyone to know that the three most dangerous words a parent can think or say are “Not my child”!
Kevin Prunty is a Senior Director in the Private Debt & Equity Group at Reinsurance Group of America, where he focuses on investments in small and mid-sized companies across North America. Kevin is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a four-year letter winner and captain of the Men’s Basketball team, and works as a volunteer youth basketball and baseball coach. Kevin and his wife Kelly live in St. Louis with their four children. Having seen the destruction addiction can cause families and as the father of four young children, Kevin is razor focused on finding ways to educate as many people as possible on the dangers of drug abuse.
Katie Zilm graduated from SLU with a psychology and business degree. She works as a Specialty Sales Representative in the Healthcare industry. She lives in St. Louis with her husband Jonathan and 2 children. She is passionate about helping other families who have been affected by addiction as she too has had family members struggle with addiction. Her hope is to educate as many parents and educators through AIR to help children and teens get on the right path and to make the right choices to allow for a lifetime of success and happiness in their future.
Teri is happily married to her husband, Tim, for over 40 years. Tim is also involved with the organization, Addiction Is Real. Teri loves nothing more than spending time with her family. She has two children and four beautiful grandchildren. Her passion in life is helping others. When she is not working at her job as a dental hygienist, you will find her babysitting her grandkids. Teri is zealous about educating other parents on drug and alcohol addiction. Teri and her family were one of the fortunate ones, whose son survived a heroin overdose.
Barb Greenblatt is a married mother of three children. She has spent her entire career, 38 years, in the travel industry at AAA. Spending time with her close-knit family and many friends is her favorite pastime. Barb became involved with A.I.R. after the loss of her precious nephew, Justin. Assisting with Addiction is Real keeps Justin’s memory close to her heart, while also making a positive impact on reducing the addiction and abuse epidemic in our community.
Marty Greenberg is a retired businessman whose son passed away in February 2015. Family is the most important thing in his life, so he has become involved with AIR to help educate other parents so that they do not experience the same heartbreak he has from the disease of addiction.
Lisa Holubowski graduated from the University of Illinois with her bachelors degree in Nursing. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and four children. Lisa was inspired to get involved with Addiction is Real after the personal loss she experienced when a former neighbor and family friend whom she babysat for many years, died from an accidental overdose of heroin in February, 2015. Lisa is determined to help educate parents in the effort to avoid the tragic consequences associated with drug abuse and addiction.
Dr. Anne Miller
Dr. Anne Miller is the Principal of Parkway West Middle School in Chesterfield, Missouri. Anne is a graduate from Northwest Missouri State University with a Doctorate from Missouri Baptist University. Anne and her husband, Matt, live in Ballwin, Missouri with their 3 children. Anne first discovered the power of Addiction is Real after inviting them to talk to parents in the West County community. Anne is passionate about educating parents, teachers, and kids about the outcomes of dangerous risk taking. She wants to equip students, parents, and teachers with the tools to lead a healthy and happy life. It is important to her that we all work as a community to develop our youth to be successful.
Jason Cummings: Entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, musician, sports enthusiast, and most importantly, an Ohio State Buckeye! Born in Greenwich, CT and raised in Columbus, OH, Jason spent his adolescence playing competitive ice hockey, serving as an associate to the board of trustees of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and playing lead guitar in a metal/grunge band while maintaining an honor role GPA all throughout high school. After realizing that the NHL or becoming a rock star wasn’t in his future, Jason went on to obtain his Bachelor’s in Economics from the Ohio State University. Jason is currently the President and CEO of Hennings Construction & Roofing, a Trustee with the Nathan Cummings Foundation, serves on the Facility Committee at the Magic House, and is excited to have just joined the board of Addiction is Real, Inc.
Dr. William Benedict
Dr. William Benedict graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in 1975, completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Barnes Hospital complex in 1978, and then became an instructor in clinical medicine and engaged in the private practice of internal medicine until his recent retirement in February, 2018. He has been deeply involved with all aspects of drug usage throughout his career. Dr Benedict has a variety of interests and activities, many of which are centered around his wife, three daughters and ten grandchildren.
Jake Besch is a student at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri. He is involved in sports as well as National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As a high school student, Jake has seen the impact of substance issues on his peers. He is working with Addiction is Real to help be part of the solution to this epidemic.