In 2000, four women who had been working independently to help those with substance use disorder and their families find treatment and support, decided to combine their efforts.
The co-founders joined together because of a common experience, the devastation of addiction, and determination to make a difference in their community. The decision was made to form ACR, Inc. in the belief that ACR could give hope to families and those with substance use disorder and help prevent others from ever having to experience loss from the disease of addiction.
Barbara Mason lost her son Elliott in 1998 to an overdose. Barb then initiated and co-chaired the Harford County Heroin Task Force along with Don Mathis, the former Executive Director of the Harford County Boys and Girls Club. The Task Force organized the first drug symposium in Harford County where former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was the keynote speaker. Barb Mason was instrumental in the first major public media campaign with billboards that addressed heroin in Harford County.
Five years before ACR was incorporated, Linda Williams was working with substance abusers. Her home became an unofficial halfway house. Linda was connecting individuals to resources, such as taking them to the Harford County Health Department, doctor and therapy appointments, and detox with Dr. Hayes, speaking for them in court and performing many of the other services that ACR now provides. This was the initial conception of ACR. Linda lost her daughter in 2007.
Linda was appointed the Governor Hogan’s Emergency Opioid and Heroin Task Force in 2015.
Maria “Doe” Ladd joined the Harford County Heroin Task Force and together she and Barb Mason connected Harford County to other counties to partner in addressing the heroin problem in Maryland. They reached out to educate the communities by attending events and doing presentations. Doe was appointed to the Maryland Council on Drug and Alcohol by Governor Glendening in the year 2001 and again by Governor Ehrlich in 2004. Doe established the first support group for family member of substance abusers in Harford County.
Janet Ritchey has lived in Cecil County for the last 20 years. Janet and her family have known the heartbreak and fear of having a family member suffering from substance abuse. During this time she became proactive in helping form a parent/family group in North East, Maryland. It was through this group that she met Doe Ladd and subsequently the other founding members of A.C.R. Inc. Janet’s support group became the model for ACR’s support group. Janet was a Board member of H.E.R.O.I.N. Hurts.
Addiction Connection Resources (ACR) became a corporation in November 2001. In June of 2002 ACR was awarded 501c3, non-profit status, by the Internal Revenue Service.