Statewide Group Welcomes Anyone Dealing with Loss to Attend Free Virtual Conference, April 21-22

G.A.P. Network Connects Grieving Families to Prevention, Other Resources


COLUMBUS, Ohio—Between June 2019 and May 2020, over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. In fact, during the COVID-19 lockdown, Ohio opioid overdose deaths surged during the second quarter of 2020, making it the deadliest three-month period since the opioid epidemic began. *

To help families affected by the loss of a loved one, especially from substance misuse, Prevention Action Alliance will host the G.A.P Network Conference virtually April 21 and 22. The theme for the two-day event will be “Gaining Ground” and will feature free webinars from national and regional speakers discussing grief and advocating for prevention.

“These alarming statistics show the ongoing struggle against the opioid crisis, how COVID has accelerated drug-related death rates, and the worsening toll it has taken on grieving Ohio families,” said Fran Gerbig, executive director of Prevention Action Alliance. “However, this past year seen so many unexpected deaths, we welcome anyone who has lost a loved one—no matter the cause—to take part in the G.A.P Network’s Conference virtually this year.”

Day one of the conference will be presented from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will focus on healing from bereavement. Highlights include: the two-part “Continuing Bonds: Fostering Our Emotional Connections with Those We’ve Lost” by Eleanor Hale, M.S. and Litsa Williams, M.A., L.C.S.W.-C., cofounders of the online community What’s Your Grief; and “When a Family Grieves: The Impact of Death on the Family System” by Julia Ellifritt, L.I.S.W.-S., program director for Ohio-based Cornerstone of Hope.

Day two of the conference will be presented from 9 a.m. to noon and will focus on advocating for prevention of substance misuse. Highlights include: “From Grief to Advocating for Prevention” by Travis Bornstein, cofounder of Hope United; “Advocacy 101” by Jean-Phillip Dorval, advocacy and public policy liaison with Prevention Action Alliance; and “The Addict’s Parents United” by Brenda Stewart, founder of the organization.

Interested individuals need to register separately for each day of the conference at The conference is free to all but is limited to 500 participants each day.

The G.A.P. (Grief to Advocacy for Prevention) Network, a part of Prevention Action Alliance, connects grieving families to resources and is building communication channels in Ohio to support advocacy and education about prevention. These conferences bridge the gap between families and community members to experts and resources. Families impacted by addiction, professionals seeking resources, and community leaders will leave with larger networks, more tools to combat these tragedies, and will gain support from each other.

Prevention Action Alliance is a certified prevention agency leading the way in promoting healthy lives through the prevention of substance misuse and fostering mental health wellness for 30 years. P.A.A. is nationally recognized for building networks that empower communities to create safe and healthy environments.

* U.S. statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Ohio statistics reported by Scientific Committee on Opioid Prevention and Education (SCOPE).