May 15, 2022 – Just weeks before her death, Lauren asked her father, Michael Cole, if he thought that someday, when he retired, he might help her in her quest to make sure people fighting substance use disorder have access to resources and support systems. In his own words, “And I said ‘Yeah, yes I will.’ “

Cole has fulfilled his promise, naming his nonprofit “Lauren’s Wish.” Located in Hazel’s House of Hope, Lauren’s Wish provides an often overlooked service: Giving people a place to stay after they’ve been discharged from the hospital following an overdose, so they don’t have to go back to the same environment that caused or contributed to their substance abuse. It’s a stepping stone, or a safe haven, on their way to rehab.

The longer someone has to wait to get into rehab, the more likely they are to back out of treatment. Studies from 2008 and 2012 showed only 11 % of addicts get treatment, and many who don’t cited access to rehab programs as a barrier. Of people who sign up for a rehab’s wait list, most will wait a month before giving up and about 40 % will drop their names from the list after two weeks.  When Lauren told her father that too many people seeking sobriety didn’t have the resources and support to follow through, she hit the proverbial nail on the head. There’s a fairly small window when people with substance use disorder are ready for help, and Lauren’s Wish finds people in that window and gives them those resources and that support they need to make it on to rehab.