Kriss Blevens is our Advocate of the Month for April!

Kriss Blevens is known more for her masterful cosmetic work, but the Manchester resident has recently put her network to use in spreading the word about solutions to New Hampshire’s substance misuse epidemic. As a talented makeup artist for more than 27 years, Blevens has provided cosmetic touch-ups to every presidential candidate for the past four election cycles, and a good number of NH legislators and national news anchors.

On April 23rd of 2014, she lost her stepdaughter to a drug overdose and has since stepped out as one of the leading advocates in the state.

Many have supported her.

“I think that because of my business position, I have a vast network through social media,” Blevens said. “When all of this happened, and I started to get out and speak and post things I’ve been involved in, it really opened the door for a bunch of people to get involved and share their stories.”

Blevens was central to the #300LOST protest earlier this month—an event where almost 500 people affected by drug and alcohol problems demonstrated on the State House plaza to represent those lost to overdose. At the protest, she carried a poster of her stepdaughter, Amber Blevens, who lost her life to an overdose one year ago today.

“We can isolate and go inwards, or we can stay in the stream of life,” Blevens said of her loss.

Blevens chose the latter, and began speaking out about substance misuse and New Hampshire’s inadequate treatment capacity. In honor of Amber, she is especially focused on outreach to those affected personally by addiction who are seeking help but unable to receive it.

“[I want to] get a message out to the addicts that they can help themselves,” Blevens said. “The recovery from addiction is a change in the consciousness of the addict and sometimes it is just a small window of opportunity. And the thing that I’m passionate about is making sure that when that window opens there is support available for them.”

The passion and personal experience that Kriss brings to the table is admirable and a valuable asset in the fight against the growing issue of substance misuse.

She has a voice that reaches out to many in New Hampshire and has personally seen the ugly side of the state’s shortcomings in this field. Next week, Kriss is sharing Amber’s story with boys and girls at a youth detention center, not to scare them but to give them perspective on the reality.

On April 30th, she’s presenting to lawmakers at a heroin panel to represent her unique perspective on this issue.

“If our health care system is set up to be ready when the addict is ready, the magic of recovery can happen,” she said.