Featured Story

‘Dying to Live’ fundraiser to help families with drug rehab costs

It wasn’t difficult for Laura Soviero of Wading River to settle on the name “Dying to Live” for her nonprofit, which was founded last year and provides emotional and financial support to local families affected by a loved one’s drug addiction.

“I thought it was appropriate because we have people who are dying,” said Ms. Soviero, 39. “But we also have people who are fighting for their lives.”

Over the past year, Ms. Soviero, a longtime licensed drug and alcohol counselor, has raised a total of $16,000 to help defray the costs associated with placing patients in long-term drug rehabilitation centers. Her next fundraiser will take place Thursday, April 21, at JC’s Restaurant in Manorville (see below).

“Our community is battling a drug problem that has become an epidemic,” said Ms. Soviero, adding that addiction is “rampant” within her clients’ families. “Parents come to me and say, ‘Listen, my son needs help and we can’t afford it’ … I wanted to help other people get the necessary treatment in order to combat addiction.”

According to the national Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, outpatient rehabilitation costs an average of $10,000 and the cost of inpatient rehabilitation ranges anywhere from $20,000 to $32,000, depending on the length of stay and services needed. While the majority of these fees can be covered by health insurance, funds raised by Dying to Live are often used to take care of associated costs, like purchasing plane tickets for patients seeking out-of-state treatment. In the past year, Ms. Soviero estimated, she has helped about 30 families across Suffolk County.

In addition to providing financial assistance, Ms. Soviero hosts parent support meetings Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. in the parish hall at St. John the Baptist Church in Wading River. As many as 30 people attend the confidential meetings each week, but Ms. Soviero said “so many parents won’t even come to the support group because they don’t want other parents to know who they are. The stigma attached to drug addiction is awful, but it doesn’t discriminate.”

Despite the difficulties her job presents, Ms. Soviero said it also has its fair share of rewards.

“Parents have said to me, ‘You saved my kid’s life,’ ” she said. “And my response is ‘No, I gave them the work. I told them what to do and they did it.’ ”

Have a health column idea for Rachel Young? Email her at [email protected].

How to help

Dying to Live’s next fundraiser will take place Thursday, April 21, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at JC’s Restaurant in Manorville. Tickets, $40 per person, include a buffet dinner, non-alcoholic beverages, dessert and raffle tickets. The event will also feature a chinese auction and 50/50 raffle. To purchase tickets, call Ms. Soviero at 631-838-8582. Visit Dying to Live’s Facebook page for more information about the organization.