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Stigma-busting moment at opioid event

Son of well-known Lowell businessman speaks openly about his addiction

By Todd Feathers

LOWELL — Three months into his recovery from opioid addiction, Tim Carvalho stood on a stage in front of 200 people Monday, in a city where his father is a prominent figure, and frankly described the havoc his disease had wreaked on his life and his family.

The 30-year-old comes from a loving family and at the time his addiction took off, he was operating his own successful business in Boston. His fortunes swiftly reversed as he drained his bank accounts to buy opioids and lost longtime friends.

Carvalho’s honest description of his darkest times was the kind of stigma-busting moment that those at the Lowell House’s second annual breakfast to celebrate recovery hope will become the new norm for people and families in recovery. Treatment programs like the Lowell House and government officials working to find solutions to the opioid epidemic have prioritized reducing the stigma that scares so many individuals with the disease away from seeking help.

“I didn’t think they would understand,” Tim Carvalho said, recalling the moment he told his parents about his addiction. “I thought they would reject me and wouldn’t love me ... I had feared that conversation for as long as I could remember, but knew it was the only way I could get better.”

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Tim Carvalho speaks about his addiction at Lowell House, Inc.’s second annual breakfast to “Celebrate Recovery” at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center Monday as his father, Frank Carvalho, listens.

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