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Government & Politics

Akron Heroin-Addiction Prevention Group Gets Nearly $1.5 Million From Teamsters

photo of Travis Bornstein

An Akron non-profit focused on heroin addiction has received nearly $1.5 million from the Teamsters.

The Teamsters' national convention happens every five years, and last Wednesday in Las Vegas one of the speakers was Travis Bornstein, president of Local 24 in Akron.

He spoke about his 23-year-old son's death in 2014 from a heroin overdose, and says he was amazed that his fellow Teamsters spontaneously began "passing the hat" to raise the money for Breaking Barriers, the non-profit set up by Bornstein's family.

At the time of my son's death, we had exhausted our insurance. ... And financially, we were exhausted as a family.

“It's been unbelievable about the amount of people that's come to me and said, 'Hey, my son, my brother, my daughter is also caught up in this thing.' And it's an epidemic. In Ohio, there's 200,000 people addicted to heroin. And I'm hearing across the United States, the number's probably a million."

Bornstein says his son died while on a waiting list to enter a treatment facility, and the ultimate goal for Breaking Barriers is to build another facility in Summit County.

“At the time of my son's death, we had exhausted our insurance.  He had exercised his two-time/lifetime in-patient rehab under our insurance.  And financially, we were exhausted as a family.  He was going to be in a state-funded program, and he was put on a three-week waiting list; during that three-week period is when he died.  Today, that waiting list is 14 weeks.  And that's just unacceptable.”

Breaking Barriers had already been planning its first major fundraiser – a golf outing – for Aug,  21 at Raintree Country Club.