Andre Johnson understands firsthand how addiction can ravage communities. Johnson, the founder and CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project, was once a drug dealer and battled drug and alcohol addiction. But after reaching his lowest point, Johnson decided to seek treatment and transformed his life and began to help others.
The Morehouse College grad is now one of the nation’s top leaders when it comes to providing recovery and treatment for drug abuse. His leadership has helped his organization in securing over $15 million in grants and sponsorships.
Johnson’s achievements were recognized by the White House. On April 29, Johnson, who was appointed by the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services to serve on the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Advisory Council, was honored as a Champion of Change.
During the panel discussion “National Epidemic, Local Solutions,” Johnson was joined by Shawn Long, Leslie Hayes, Julio Medina, Leonard Campanello, and moderator, Chris Jones, director of the Division of Science Policy.
Johnson spoke about his tribulations with drugs and how the Detroit Recovery Project has helped to assist with a national epidemic.
“What motivates and brings me here today is due to personal, as well as professional reasons,” Johnson told the audience. “Being a person in longtime recovery, I realized firsthand I was just one drug away from overdosing and one drug away from being killed because of my addiction. Professionally, I’ve been affiliated with substance abuse treatment and I recognized that it was not just a Detroit problem, it was a global problem. I started a peer-run, peer-driven organization just a little over 10 years ago. When we started this recovery community, we found people walking through our door from a variety of backgrounds. We worked with the Wayne County coroner and found that we had 75 to 100 deaths of drug overdose per day in Wayne County. People are dying by the dozens every day. We have to increase our awareness in our community. We can never do enough in our community to encourage the message that recovery is possible.”