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Weir: Fighting the disease of drug abuse

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Bob Weir and Kathy O’Keefe. (Video and photo by Netsky Rodriguez)

Kathy O’Keefe is the Executive Director of Winning The Fight (WTF), a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that provides drug education, support, and necessary resources to youth and families that suffer from the disease of addiction. In addition, Kathy holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Harrington Institute in Chicago, IL. and has worked in Sales and Marketing for 26 years. She has served many positions on the Boards of Business and Professional Women (BPW), American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) and American University Women’s Association (AUWA). Last year, Kathy received the Flower Mound, Outstanding Citizen Award. She and her husband of 27 years raised both their boys in Flower Mound.

WTF was developed after losing their 18 year-old son, Brett Morgan O’Keefe, to an accidental drug overdose in 2010. “He fought and lost. We choose to be a part of winning, not losing. Brett was well known for using the ‘WTF’ in a kidding manner. So we used the initials and changed the meaning to something positive,” Kathy said. The website: www.wtf-winningthefight.org has more info about the scourge of drugs and how parents should educate themselves about it.

“There is a resurgence in drug addiction all over America that is coming back in a very real way. Most of the time it starts with prescription pills, but it quickly leads to more extreme drugs. People that are affected by this are not psychologically disturbed, junkies or criminals, but normal kids that come from very normal families. Every 14 minutes someone dies from a drug overdose. Almost 1 in every 4 teens in America say they have misused or abused a prescription drug and 20% who have abused prescription drugs, did so before the age of 14, while two-thirds of people 12 and older who have abused prescription pain relievers within the past year, say they got them from a friend or relative.

“Our goal is to educate. Most families will not educate themselves to the destruction of addiction until it happens to them and then it becomes necessary. They make drug use a moral issue when it is not. Our goal is to help parents realize that this can happen to normal families. This is happening in areas all over America. If no one speaks out, we cannot change the stigma and the judgment,” said Kathy.

Kathy is also the Executive Producer of “Not Me,” a documentary film about eight separate individuals that, combined, tell a complete story of addiction, denial, and recovery.

On Saturday, September 30, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., an event called “Stompin’ Stigma” will be held at Forestwood Middle School, 2810 Morriss Road in Flower Mound. The following info explains what the event is about and how you can attend. “Please join us for our Addiction Awareness 5K and 1 Mile Fun Walk to help eliminate the stigma and judgment associated with addiction and mental health. Certified 5K Course on Trails Music / DJ Snacks Professionally Timed Race Medals for all age groups Sponsor Booths Raffle Prizes Face Painting and more! Registration will also be available on site the day of the event. However, it is possible we will run out of t-shirts so we recommend registering in advance.”

In the video below, Kathy talks about the dangers of drug abuse and what parents should look for in the behavior of their children.

Bob Weir is a former NYPD officer, long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.

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