Our Mission: "Saving Lives By Empowering Youth To Be Drug Free And Encouraging Parents

To Communicate Effectively With Their Children About The Dangers Of Drugs"

Past Articles: 2014-20112010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

The following links are from the full newspaper articles above.

Finding Courage to Speak of Son's Death, New York Times

2000 Woman of the Year - Ginger Katz, Connecticut Post

'You don't want my pain' Heroin addict's mother makes impression with eighth-graders, The News-Times

Couple tries to prevent tragedy by speaking about their own, Effingham Daily News

Decade of Dedication: Ginger Katz's Courage to Speak anti-drug program marks 10 years, Connecticut Post

For the Children, a Mother Revisits Her Sorrow, New York Times

Katz still has the Courage to Speak against drugs, The Stamford Times

Knowledge is Power- Ginger Katz is on a mission to educate parents about drugs, The Advocate

 Current News:
By Julia Werth
December 31, 2018

Starting the conversation, parenting through the opioid crisis

Kileen Doyle never spoke to her son about drugs while he was growing up. She wasn’t even aware that some of his classmates and friends in Norwalk were using.

That changed abruptly when her son’s long-time friend, a boy who had been on his swimming team and in his martial arts classes, died of an overdose: heroine mixed with valium, a prescription drug.
“I was completely unaware of drug use when my children were growing up, before Ian’s death,” said Doyle.
And, according to Ginger Katz, Ian’s mother, that’s not surprising at all. People – especially parents – simply didn’t talk about drug use.

Click here to read more.

By Ruth Epstein 
November 5, 2018

We have to save lives’: Program in Waterbury to help parents prevent drug abuse, addiction

Ginger Katz wants the demand to stop. “There are dealers who are targeting our children,” said Katz, whose son, Ian, died of an opioid addiction more than 20 years ago. “Prevention is key. We are focusing on treatment and that is imperative. We have to save lives. But if we don’t look at the other side of the problem, we are going to repeat this cycle.”

Katz is founder of the Courage to Speak Foundation, a nonprofit organization that tries to educate parents of children about the danger of drugs. On Wednesday, she and her facilitator will bring the group’s “Courage to Speak – Courageous Parenting 101” to Waterbury. The two-hour program attempts to give parents the tools and information they need to prevent drug use and addiction in their children.

“There’s a crop of children every year in the schools and if we don’t educate them, we will repeat the cycle,” said Katz, whose son died in 1996. “We know the opioid crisis is an epidemic. Do we want a pandemic?”

Click here to read more.


By Tatianna Flowers
November 3, 2018

With courage, mom speaks out about son’s deadly drug addiction

NORWALK — At 4 a.m. on Sept. 10, 1996, Ginger Katz’s dog climbed four flights of stairs and jumped onto her bed. Sunny woke her up from the best night of sleep she’d had in five months.

The night before, Katz’ son said, “Mom, I want to see a doctor in the morning. I need to take care of my problem.”

Ian Eaccarino, 20, struggled with drug addiction for about seven years, and Katz said his desire to seek treatment is what helped her sleep that night.

Click here to read more.

By Robert Sample 
September 28, 2018

An anti-drug crusade that began in heartbreak

Were he alive today, Ian Eaccarino would be 41 - but his life was cut short by a drug overdose at the age of 20.

Eaccarino's death in 1997 gave his mom, Ginger Katz, a new mission that involves keeping his memory alive and ensuring Eaccarino did not die in vain. Katz created the Courage to Speak Foundation, which educates young people about the horrors of drug abuse. It also alerts parents to the signs of drug abuse and the parenting techniques they must employ to stop it.

"My son was a good kid ... a wonderful kid," said Katz in a presentation July 20 at Jockey Hollow Middle School. "He made an unhealthy decision to use drugs, and I'm not ashamed of him. Instead, I speak out."

Click here to read more.


By Joseph Hong
August 13, 2018

Citing spike in weed usage among students, Palm Springs Unified wants to place focus on more counseling and prevention

Citing a report that showed increased marijuana use by Colorado's youth immediately following legalization in the state, the Palm Springs Unified School District wants to prevent similar outcomes for its students.

In late May, the district announced a proposal to stifle potentially detrimental effects of cannabis legalization on students and campus climate. The district's three-pronged strategy includes reassessing school discipline, renewing counseling efforts and a prevention curriculum for parents and students across grade levels. 

"If you look over the last three years, we’ve had increases in suspensions and expulsions for drug and alcohol use," said Anne Kalisek, the district's director of student support services. "It's one of the top three reasons we suspend or expel students."

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By Nia Hamm
April 17, 2018

HARTFORD --  The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities across the nation including many in Connecticut.

However, some local health officials believe far more people may be suffering from opioid addiction than the state actually reports. This could mean the opioid crises is far worse than previously thought.

“The only word I could describe what it’s like to lose a child is, it’s human torture,” said Ginger Katz.

Click here to read more.

Courage To Speak About Being Drug-Free Celebrates 14th Annual Family Night

by Jon Craig

March 18, 2018 

The 14th Annual Courage To Speak Empowering Youth to Be Drug Free Family Night will take place on Tuesday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m., at Roton Middle School, 201 Highland Ave. in Norwalk.

All are invited to the event, which will bring students, parents, educators, school and government officials, business and other community leaders together to affirm their commitment to keep children safe from drugs and other risky behaviors. A complimentary dinner will be served.

Click here to read more

By Sarah Cody, News 8 Anchor / Reporter

February 14, 2018

Norwalk mother gives families the ‘Courage to Speak’ about drug abuse and prevention

Parenting during the opioid epidemic: a Norwalk mother is traveling the state, with a plea for prevention.

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — Parenting during the opioid epidemic: a Norwalk mother is traveling the state, with a plea for prevention. “I’m in a club that nobody wants to join – nobody signs up for this,” said Ginger Katz who lost her son Ian to a heroin overdose in 1996.  “I got up for my morning run and I found him at 6am. My cries for help were heard two blocks away.”

Click here to read more

By R.A. Schuetz 
November 18.2017

LEADING BY EXAMPLE - Middle school course teaches parents how to keep kids off drugs

NORWALK — Parents and advocates gathered in the West Rocks Middle School library Thursday evening to learn about parenting during the opioid epidemic.

Click here to read more.

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Courage to Speak Foundation has developed a new program, “Parenting Through the Opioid Crisis and Beyond,” a free drug prevention course designed specifically for parents of elementary, middle, and high school students. The program was developed by the Courage to Speak Foundation by a grant from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. This new program is specifically designed to address the current opioid epidemic and is offered free to parents in the community.

Click here to read more

The Courage To Speak!

October 2017

FAIRFIELD– The Courage to Speak Foundation Presentation Ginger and Larry Katz, Co-Founders of the Courage to Speak® Foundation will be speaking at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, 545 Stratfield Road, Fairfield on Thursday, October 19th at 6:30 PM in the Parish Hall.

Click here to read more

Weymouth sixth-graders learn about opioid epidemic

By Zane Razzaq 

May 25, 2017

WEYMOUTH – “Don’t keep secrets in, get your pain out” was author Ginger Katz’s message to an audience of Abigail Adams Middle School students and parents Wednesday evening.

Ginger Katz’s son, Ian, died in his sleep of a heroin overdose in Norwalk, Connecticut, at age 20. Katz described her son as “bright and very sensitive, with an insight well beyond his years.” Eleven years after his death, in 2007, Katz wrote the book “Sunny’s Story.” The book is narrated by the family dog, Sunny, as he watches Ian’s addiction develop.

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Addiction Awareness Event Scheduled For Sept. 27

The Courage To Speak Foundation CEO Ginger Katz will discuss substance abuse and addiction in Milton.

By Kristal Dixon (Patch Staff)

September 20, 2016 2:46 pm ET

Addiction Awareness Event Scheduled For Sept. 27

MILTON, GA -- A church in Milton will host an event next week to inform local residents about the perils of drug addiction.The Courage To Speak Foundation will bring its addiction awareness discussion to Birmingham United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27. Fulton County District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis, along with members of the Fulton County Youth Commission, are slated to attend next week's event. During the discussion, residents will hear from foundation founder Ginger Katz, who will give a presentation about substance abuse and addiction. Katz will go over how to recognize the warning signs; addiction and its impact on families; the code of silence and its dangers; how to identify risky behaviors and friendships; and what to do if you suspect your child is using drugs or alcohol. The foundation was created in 1996 after Katz, and husband Larry, lost their son, Ian, to a drug overdose. Since its founding, the organization has been dedicated to preventing drug overdose deaths from affecting another families. Birmingham United Methodist Church is located at 15770 Birmingham Highway. 

Courage to Speak

By Kimberly Armstrong
May 23, 2016

Ian was 20 years old when his mother, Ginger Katz, found him dead of a heroin overdose in the basement of their Connecticut home. 
Faced with the loss of their youngest child, doctors recommended that Katz and her husband, Larry, tell grieving relatives that he died of a heart attack or brain aneurysm to soften the blow. Instead, as Ginger Katz lay awake the night before her son's funeral, she decided to speak out. "I could not, would not, bury my son with a lie," she told parents at Stafford Middle School. "I felt very early on, if we don't address it, if we shove it under the rug, more people will die."

Click here to read more

April 5, 2016

Courage to Speak plans annual event on March 14

By Jeff Eydt

March 7, 2016

NORWALK -- Join Ginger Katz and The Courage to Speak for their 12th annual "Empowering the Youth to be Drug Free Family Night" event to help those with drug addiction on Monday, March 14. This is the Courage to Speak Foundation's 20th year in its mission to spread awareness and help save lives.

"Going to rehab is five to ten times more expensive than a college education," said Ginger Katz, founder of the Courage to Speak Foundation. "Even if your kids don't do drugs, we need to get the word out to help prevent and help those with drug addictions. The Courage to Speak Foundation has students invite their parents to the event to celebrate the work of drug prevention."

Click here to read more.

Hour Staff Report

March 3, 2016

Blumenthal to hold forum - heroin epidemic 

HARTFORD — Larry and Ginger Katz, co-founders of the Courage to Speak Foundation, and Darnell Crosland, president of the Norwalk NAACP, will be among those on hand Friday afternoon when U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal plays host to a forum to combat the heroin epidemic. The forum will be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Southwest Community Health Center in Bridgeport.

Click here to read more

Son's death made her an activist - Norwalk woman tells of drug use tragedy

By Ruth Epstein

November 5, 2015

Ruth Epstein Republican-American Virginia 'Ginger' Katz speaks to students at Sharon Center School during a
recent assembly. Katz, whose son, Ian Eaccarino, died from a drug overdose at age 20, is the creator of the
Courage to Speak Foundation, formed to try to prevent families from going through a similar tragedy.

SHARON — Virginia "Ginger" Katz's son died young, but his story is being used to save others.
The Norwalk resident was at Sharon Center School last week to talk to parents one evening, and sixth- to eighth-grade students the next day, about her Courage to Speak Foundation.

Click here to read more.

In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs

By Katharine Q. Seelye 

October. 30, 2015

Ginger Katz and her husband, Larry Katz, of Norwalk, Conn., lost their 20-year-old son Ian to a heroin overdose in
1996. She then started a foundation to try to end the silence surrounding addiction. Credit Katherine Taylor for The
New York Times

Ginger Katz of Norwalk, Conn., has equally lofty goals. After her son, Ian, 20, died of a heroin overdose in 1996, she founded the Courage to Speak Foundation to try to end the silence surrounding addiction, and she has developed a drug-prevention curriculum for schools and written a book, "Sunny's Story," told through the eyes of Ian's dog.   She is still traveling around the country speaking to students and their parents.

Click here to

Mrs. Katz's son, Ian, at 17.

Courage to Speak's Drug Prevention Night Moves Audience to Tears

By Katherine Du

October 12, 2015

Demetri Dassouras and a friend at the Courage to Speak Dinner. Credit: Katherine Du.

The 11th Annual Courage To Speak Empowering Youth to Be Drug Free Family Night, Ginger Katz's brainchild, took place on March 16, 2015 at West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Click here to read more

Burlington High School parents attend 'Courage to Speak' drug addiction prevention presentation 

By Chris Warren

September 25, 2015

BURLINGTON - When Ginger Katz took the stage at Burlington High School Sept. 17, she started by saying her son Ian died Sept. 10, 1996, due to an overdose of heroin mixed with Valium. He was 20 years old. To save face, Ian's doctor suggested Katz tell people her son had died of an aneurysm. Instead, she told the truth.

Click here to

Drug Prevention Night Moves Audience To Tears

By: Katherine Du

March 17, 2015

The 11th Annual Courage To Speak Empowering Youth To Be Drug Free Family Night, the brainchild of Ginger Katz, took place on March 16 at West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk.

After her son Ian passed away in 1996 of a heroin overdose, Ginger had the choice to tell the world that he had died of a heart attack or an aneurism. She, instead, had a self-described “vision to speak out” that drove her not only to pen a drug prevention book titled Sunny’s Story, but also to found the Courage to Speak Foundation, which developed drug prevention education curricula for elementary, middle, and high schools around the nation. Her program has reached 16,800 students in Norwalk alone so far.

Click here to

Norwalk Takes Anti-Drug Stance At Courage To Speak Night

by Casey Donahue

March 17, 2015

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk community gathered at West Rocks Middle School on Monday night for the annual Courage to Speak Empowering Youth To Be Drug Free Family Night.

The night was hosted by the Courage to Speak Foundation, whose founder, Norwalk mom Ginger Katz, lost her son Ian to a drug overdose in 1996. Since her son's death she has worked to develop drug prevention curriculum and programs for schools to teach kids about the dangers of drugs and some refusal techniques. Her book, "Sunny's Story" tells her family's tale through the eyes of their pet beagle and has become regular reading in Norwalk schools and other districts around the state.

Click here to read more. 

The Courage to Speak®Foundation, 71 East Avenue, Suite M, Norwalk, CT 06851     203-831-9700 TOLL FREE: (877) 431-3295