MANORVILLE - A Laurel man who witnessed his family struggle with addiction set out to break down barriers and help others get lifesaving help.
Paul Maffetone's brother Michael spent years struggling with addiction and eventually lost his battle.
"My brother passing away has really shown me what I'm here for," Maffetone says. "And that's to give back and help. I just didn't know in what direction."
Maffetone eventually started a group called Michael's Hope, where recovering addicts and others who are willing can share their stories, in hopes of helping someone else.
The group speaks honestly and bluntly about their experiences at schools and in local neighborhoods. They say hiding in the shadows is what you do when you are ashamed of something.
Jordan Stierle is part of the group. He says he did not want to be a heroin addict, but he just lost hope at one time. Trevor Murray, of Manorville, is also part of Michael's Hope. From marijuana and alcohol on to pills and heroin, his story is similar to that of many others struggling - each one filled with sadness, frustration, fear and remorse.
Michael's Hope also provides free Narcan training. Maffetone says his hope is to get everyone talking about addiction because he believes talking openly about it is the only way to help break down barriers.