When 20-year-old Sage Capozzi died from a heroin overdose in 2012 his father, Carmen Capozzi, said he lay on the floor for two days until he heard his son’s voice say, “Dad get up. They’re not bad kids. You have to help.”
A few days later, one of Sage’s friends came to Capozzi’s house to show Carmen a Facebook page created as a memorial to Sage. That page led to the creation of the Sage’s Army page.
“There were 1,800 people signed up in 24 hours, asking me for help or telling me their situation,” said Capozzi. “My wife said to me, ‘What are you going to do?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I’m just going to talk.’ And that’s what we did, we just talked.”
That talk has led to much more than just a place on the web.
Carmen Capozzi, and other members of Sage’s Army, now talk to kids at school assemblies, reach out to families at parades and community events, and offer a safe gathering place in Irwin, known as Sage’s Haven.
“I know from the beginning [Sage’s Haven] is something he wanted to do,” said Michele Evens, who struggled with her own addiction to pain pills, and now volunteers with Sage’s Army. “Somewhere, anywhere, for addicts to go and not be surrounded by bad influences.”
Capozzi and his friends try to get users the treatment they need, help family members support loved ones through their recovery and lift up anyone who has been touched by the tragedy of an overdose.
“What this has done is show people you don’t have to be ashamed to talk about this," said Capozzi. "The enemy wants us to hide in stigma, they want us to stay in the dark. Sage’s army is trying to bring people out of the dark.”
Hear more of Carmen Capozzi's story.
Hear more from Michele Evans.