Zachary's Story

Louise Griffin
Tell us about your (or your loved one's) recovery journey. What has been the most rewarding part?

We consider it our obligation to bring attention to the common misconceptions of substance use disorder. We have personally been affected by the stigma and know it is this stigma that keeps people from seeking treatment. Through our experience, we know how difficult it is dealing with substance use disorder on your own and want people to know they are not alone.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

We believe in recovery. We believe in you.

My son, Zachary Gys was a bright child. He was well-liked, a very good athlete with a strong passion for hockey and he had a smile that could light up any room. He came from a good family, lived in a good neighborhood and was surrounded by good friends. He did not seem destined for a life of addiction – and he wasn’t.

At the tender age of 21, Zachary died of a heroin overdose, just one month shy of his 22nd birthday. Although he suffered from this debilitating and misunderstood chronic brain disease, he filled our hearts with joy and love. We will forever miss his mischievous smile, his laughter, and goofy jokes.

Following his death in 2013, we launched Zack's Team Foundation ( to help families who lack financial means send their loved ones to treatment for their alcoholism and addiction. We believe in recovery and know that substance use disorder is a treatable disease.