ABC 6 News

"Wipe the Face of Addiction" campaign changing stigmas


By Ana Bottary

Two years ago today, Issac Volkmar, a University of Rhode Island student, lost his battle to drug addiction. It was a disease he shied away from discussing due to the stigma surrounding it.
"Honestly, one of the hardest things for Isaac was to talk about it and admit that he was an addict... to admit that he had what some call, 'substance abuse disorder.' Some people don't like the word 'addict.' Whatever it was, Isaac didn't like to tell people. He was ashamed of it," says his mother, Eve Goldberg.
However, Eve, is not ashamed to bring light to this dark subject, and is spreading the word through a special initiative. She and her daughter throw pies in each others faces as part of the "Wipe the Face of Addiction" campaign, started by the Stacie Mathewson Foundation. The goal is to erase the stigma associated with substance use disorders. Eve knows first hand that addiction can affect anyone.

"High school was the beginning of his down fall. He was a great basketball player, he was on the team, he was captain of the team, he wanted to play division three ball. Once he started getting into this habitual pattern of drinking and smoking pot, he wasn't the same anymore," she says.

Friends of Isaac's are also taking the challenge in his memory. Pat Brown met Isaac at URI and said he never knew the daily struggles Isaac faced until it was too late.

"I think we all have a friend or a family member that has either died or has had some serious problems with addiction, either drugs or alcohol. I think it is a great way to maybe trigger that thought in someone's mind, like, 'maybe I should say something to my friend who is having that problem,'" Brown says.

Since Isaac's passing, Eve has started a non-profit in honor of him, helping other struggling teens and adults recover from addiction. 

To learn more about the challenge, you can visit the "Wipe the Face of Addiction" website.