Toni Cornell, the 16-year-old daughter of the late Chris Cornell, has written a letter about her father’s battle with addiction alongside the launch of her ‘Stop the Stigma’ education campaign.
In the letter, which was published on GoodMorningAmerica.com, Toni writes how her dad grew up with two parents who struggled with alcoholism, and how he began experimenting with drugs at age 14, which led to a panic disorder.
“He learned from his mistakes and shared those lessons with us,” Toni explains. “He shared how he overcame his own anxiety, but then also shared that alcohol had dragged him back into drugs. He explained how that led to depression and using other drugs because it took away the fear associated with it. He taught us the importance of understanding addiction.”
“Addiction education is so very important,” Toni adds. “Yet it is something that is not taught and not discussed enough. I want to help change that.”
Toni hopes to do that with Stop the Stigma, an educational pilot program set to come to high schools across the U.S. this fall. She’s launching the campaign alongside with her younger brother, Christopher, and in partnership with the Addiction Policy Forum and the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.
The program begins with a conversation with Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institute of Health.
“My dad’s death was completely preventable,” Toni writes in her letter. “We need to stop the stigma that does not allow us to see that this is a disease and a mental health disorder, not a moral flaw. The former perspective saves lives, the latter ends them.”
For more information, visit StopStigma.org.
By Josh Johnson
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