ATLANTA, October 06, 2015 - The Cigna Foundation today will go to new heights to announce a $100,000 World of Difference grant to Shatterproof, a non-profit organization committed to giving young people and families support and information to overcome addiction. The grant announcement will be made at 10 a.m. ET by Cigna Foundation's Executive Director David Figliuzzi and Dr. Douglas Nemecek, Cigna's Chief Medical Officer of the behavioral health business and member of Shatterproof's Scientific Board, as dozens of Atlanta residents committed to raising awareness about addiction prepare to rappel off the 17-story United Way Building at 100 Edgewood Ave NE in Atlanta.
"Addiction to illicit drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol is one of the most urgent preventable health crises in the United States today. Approximately 360 Americans die every day from alcohol and drugs, and the Cigna Foundation wants to do something about it," said Figliuzzi.
The Cigna Foundation World of Difference grants focus on health equity, with support provided to non-profits who are working to eliminate health disparities.
"Because of the stigma that often persists with respect to people with addiction, those who are addicted may not seek help," said Dr. Nemecek. "Society often doesn't treat people with addiction with the same compassion as those who suffer from other illnesses."
The Cigna Foundation grant will fund the creation of the Shatterproof Resource Portal, a need that is currently unmet.
"For every major disease in the U.S. there is one well-funded national organization that consolidates research and resources, providing the public with the most up-to-date, evidence-based information related to its respective disease. Yet there is no such comprehensive educational information site for addiction," explained Gary Mendell, Shatterproof founder & CEO. "Communities and families across the U.S. are ravaged by addiction. The National Institute on Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many other entities have spent billions on research over the past decade, which has resulted in a powerful body of information. Tragically, this information has not been consolidated and published in one centralized, accessible and regularly updated online site."
The Shatterproof Resource Portal will create content and maintain a comprehensive, interactive online portal to house and disseminate the most up-to-date, evidence-based information on how to understand, prevent, intervene, treat, and recover from the disease of addiction. The Shatterproof Resource Portal will provide validated information on a range of relevant topics for individuals, parents, families, and professionals confronting addiction. "Access to this information will save countless lives and reduce enormous human suffering in communities across the United States," Mendell said.
The first phase of the website will emphasize resources related to the rise in prescription painkillers and heroin overdoses, which has quadrupled since 1999.
Shatterproof has held rappelling events throughout the country, issuing a Shatterproof Challenge to the nation to become more aware of addiction and take action. The rappels were started by Mendell, who had been CEO of HEI Hotels and Resorts, a Cigna client, until 2012 when his son died as a result of addiction. Mendell has devoted his life to raising awareness of addiction and helping families across the country. Shatterproof organizes rappelling events across the country as a highly visible way to bring as much public attention as possible to addiction.
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 89 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
Shatterproof (www.shatterproof.org) is a national nonprofit organization committed to protecting our loved ones from addiction to illicit drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol, and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease. Shatterproof was founded in 2012.