Charles “Chas” Karidis, of Madison County, had dreams of being a husband and father, and making his mark on the world. He wanted to be a good role model for his younger brother, Niko. Sadly, these aspirations came to an end in November 2013 when Chas’ mom, Kari, received a phone call that no parent wants to receive. Kari, an assistant principal at Collinsville High School, learned that Chas had succumbed to a battle with heroin addiction just after his 23rd birthday.

This painful loss of a child led Kari to launch Companion’s Companion, a not-for-profit organization that provides support and assistance through education, coordination of resources, support, and advocacy to the companions of people suffering from addiction. Sadly, organizations like Kari’s are needed now more than ever.

Prescription opioids and heroin addiction continue to ravage our nation, causing heartache and pain for millions of American families and destroying communities. Many people use prescription opioids to relieve pain, but they can be addictive and lead to inappropriate use. This abuse is no secret.