PLYMOUTH, Minn. (KMSP) - On Monday afternoon, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation received a donation aimed at helping those who need assistance in recovering from addiction. The story behind the company that made the donation is one that’s becoming all too familiar for many families across the state.
“No matter how big or small, the company is or you are as an individual, you can make a difference for this,” said Erik Brust, founder and CEO of JonnyPops frozen smoothies on a stick.
The company is named in honor of his cousin Jonathan who helped come up with the idea, but didn't live to see this day.
“After he passed away from a drug overdose, we said ‘hey, we want a social mission, and it's going to be centered around this problem,’” Brust said. “It's sort of a natural ‘pay it forward’ mission that we adopted.
The proceeds from all of the pops sold in August at Lunds and Byerlys stores were donated to Hazelden Betty Ford where Jonathan was getting treatment.
Specifically, the money will go toward helping those in the center's youth continuum program who can't afford to get the treatment they need. The program treats young people from ages 12 to 25.
At least five of the overdose victims in Anoka County last weekend were in their 20s.
“It's really important that you start now in treating their addiction, so that they can have a prosperous life,” said Mark Sheets of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
“My first thoughts were [that] we need to better,” said Lexi Reed Holtum, executive director of the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation. The foundation is named after her fiancée who died in 2011 after years of battling opioid addiction.
She says the recent rash of overdoses shows the state needs to work on better access to treatment, and more people need to be made aware of ways they can help someone dealing with an overdose.
Reed Holtum said the assistance includes “not only helping individuals to have the tools and the resources and the knowledge to not die, but [knowing] what the next steps are to make sure they have the help they need.”