Former heroin addict supports program to help those struggling with addiction

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - One Central New York man is trying to put some muscle into a new movement to fight the heroin epidemic, and he’s calling on businesses to support Stand Up Syracuse, a program created by Prevention Network.

It’s been years since 36-year-old John Dias has felt or looked as good as he does now. His life was shattered by a powerful heroin addiction.

“It grabs a hold of your soul, things that I did and put my family through and my kids and their mom… I still can't believe I did it,” Dias said.

Now he’s pumping iron and celebrating sobriety, which he credits to willpower and support at Hercules Gym.

“It released a lot of built up frustration with myself, my situation, what I felt like, everything disappeared as soon as I walked through the door here,” Dias said.

But after 19 funerals— all overdose deaths— the personal toll got to be too much.

Dias is spreading awareness about Stand Up Syracuse, a support network to encourage others in recovery to seek a natural rush from exercise, physical activity and volunteer work.

Stand Up Syracuse has formed a partnership with Cuse Pit Crew to help socialize dogs in the shelters.

Prevention Network wants more businesses to join this campaign, and they also want to change an image of how people perceive heroin addiction and how those in recovery see themselves.

He’s hoping to build strong support for a road to recovery for those struggling with addiction, led by a man who’s been in their shoes.

For more information, contact Prevention Network at 315-471-1359. 


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