Linda A. Ventura:

Families in Support of Treatment – FIST- has brought a new family of friends to my life and has given me a new voice to bring much needed attention to the disease of addiction. I lost my middle son, Thomas, to the disease of addiction on March 14, 2012.

I met Anthony Rizzuto in February of 2014 and we began a journey advocating and bringing awareness to change the status quo in NYS. It has been my honor and privilege to work with Anthony and, together, with many other families, changed the law in NYS for Access to Treatment.

My new family of friends have lost loved ones, or are dealing with a loved ones’ addiction and we share feelings and emotions that many people cannot comprehend. All too often, families struggling with a loved one’s addiction need hope and guidance and FIST members provide that hope, guidance, a caring heart, and a listening ear.

I am proud and honored to be on the Board of Directors for F.I.S.T!

Nancy Beckett-Lawless:

As a provider of addiction treatment services we struggled to have our voices heard by Insurance Companies when we were appealing for the treatment rights of our patients.  To them it may have seemed our only interest was keeping our beds full and our outpatient facilities busy.  We witnessed daily the devastating effects of telling a patient their treatment has been denied, and telling families their still sick loved one was returning home.  And then came F.I.S.T., Families in Support of Treatment.  Family members were willing to do whatever it took to make certain their loved ones had the access to care and treatment they so desperately needed. They demanded change. They made calls to legislators, they wrote letters, they traveled to the State Capital to advocate for changes in laws, and they held each other up as they fought side by side….until they won. They helped get 11 bills passed into law in New York State in June of 2014.  The face of addiction treatment in New York State has forever changed.


Thank you F.I.S.T.  “Alone we cannot do much, together we can accomplish anything.”

Paulette Phillipe:

On April 22nd, 2010 my 15 year old Grandson Gabriel died of an accidental drug overdose . Since then on every Anniversary of his passing we have reached out to help others going through similar losses and to educate others on drug and alcohol abuse.

Through one of these Presentations I learned about FIST. It was something I had been praying for. This Organization founded by Anthony Rizzuto MSW CASAC introduced me to men and women who have lost their family members due to drugs and alcoholism. I was able to share my story with them and listen to their pain and frustrations.Also my respect deepened for the therapists who have been fighting to change laws enabling our young people to receive the treatments they deserve.

FIST was instrumental in organizing a group of parents that had lost their children from the disease of Drug Abuse to take action in Albany. We, along side of Therapists spoke to Representatives explaining the game the insurance companies have been playing and were able to truly have our voices heard. We made a difference and laws are being changed.

I have attended many of their Presentations at Schools and Churches which are educational, informative,supportive and always have a personal message.

For me Families In Support Of Treatment is exactly what the name represents. Addiction  is a family disease and it encompasses everyone. It is like the circle of life. I have received more than I can express but I can give to others who are walking this path and feel SUPPORTED.

THANK YOU to my family of FIST

Jennifer Lebowitz:

When RipLB started, it was a community response to preventable tragic deaths happening in Long Beach, NY including the opioid epidemic that was ending way too many lives, way too soon. When Dr. Jeff Reynolds heard about us he immediately offered to help, and the very first thing he did was connect us to Anthony Rizzuto and F.I.S.T. We are so grateful he did, as this led to a fantastically successful F.I.S.T. event in Long Beach, NY. Over 350 people came out for this event (in the middle of the summer!), the purpose of which was to connect people with much-needed resources, as well as spread the message that “there is help, and there is hope.” From there, per Anthony’s wonderful suggestion, RipLB offered workshops once per month for the entire academic year to follow up the F.I.S.T. event and continue to offer resources and support to the community – thanks to Anthony and F.I.S.T.’s guidance and direction. On behalf of RipLB, I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Anthony and all the people who make up F.I.S.T. It is a beautiful group of people and we are making a difference and working towards “turning the tide” on the opioid epidemic – while carrying the message that there is always help and hope! Thank you, Anthony and F.I.S.T.!

Teri Kroll:

Having been involved in advocating for changes in laws and society acceptance of drug addiction as a recognized disease I became a member of FIST from its formation.  Families in Support of Treatment has brought awareness to the forefront in a way that has benefitted so many in need.  FIST brings treatment and prevention centers to communities in a forum that makes getting information to those whose loved ones are struggling readily available.  I am proud to be a member.  Getting information when we needed it so desperately was not in site when we struggled along with our son Timothy to try to find help and insurance to help pay for his needs while he fought, what was for him, a deadly disease.  FIST members are compassionate to the needs of families and those struggling with this disease.  The members are ALL there to help, and advocate and at the ready to stand-up and fight for the necessary changes

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