Gala Preview: Celebrity Speaker Andrew McCarthy

Haymarket Center is thrilled to be joined by Andrew McCarthy for our 2024 Haymarket Center Gala. Andrew McCarthy is a director, an award-winning travel writer, and—of course—an actor appearing in dozens of films, including iconic movies Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Less Than Zero, and cult favorites Weekend At Bernie’s and Mannequin. After starting his career in Hollywood at the young age of 19, he joined a generation of performers that became synonymous with the John Hughes era of film. His memoir chronicling this time, BRAT: An ‘80s Story  became a New York Times Bestseller in 2021.

Andrew has directed nearly a hundred hours of television, including The Blacklist, Grace and Frankie, Orange is the New Black, and many others. McCarthy has authored several New York Times Bestselling books, including travel memoir The Longest Way Home and as well as his most recent memoir, Walking With Sam about his 500 mile journey across Spain walking the Camino De Santiago with his son Sam.  

McCarthy served as editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler magazine for 12 years, while writing articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and many others. Andrew has been recognized for his articles by being named Travel Journalist of the Year by The Society of American Travel Writers, as well as serving as guest editor of the prestigious BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING anthology. We are so appreciative that Andrew will be joining us, sharing his journey of recovery at this year’s Haymarket Center Gala on May 4, 2024 at the Hilton Chicago.

Get your tickets now before prices go up on April 12.

Haymarket Center furthers partnership with Endeavor Health

In many cases, patients who come into the ER experiencing an overdose receive care for their physical needs, but are not connected to life-saving behavioral and mental health services. “Warm-Handoff” programs, like the one Haymarket Center and Endeavor Health have partnered to create, fill this crucial gap in care. Haymarket Center first partnered with Endeavor Health in 2020 to provide peer recovery interviews, link patients to treatment programs, and transportation to services after an opioid related overdose.

Already, Haymarket has served more than 300 patients through this partnership, but there is always more to be done. “Too often following an opioid overdose, individuals face barriers when they try to get immediate access to life-saving treatment for substance use disorders. Our warm-handoff program in Endeavor Health hospitals eliminates those barriers and gets people the care they need, when they need it most.” Says Haymarket President and CEO Dan Lustig. That is why Endeavor Health’s Community Investment Fund awarded Haymarket Center a grant to expand these services to 250 patients in crisis each year.

“Our Community Investment Fund has made a remarkable impact since its launch in 2022, touching over 211,000 lives and supporting a significant expansion of behavioral health counselling” said Kristen Murtos, Chief Innovation & Transformation Officer at Endeavor Health. We, at Haymarket Center, are thrilled to be a part of that impact.

Mayor Johnson Visits CTA Outreach Program

In February, Mayor Brandon Johnson and WGN News correspondent Tahman Bradley experienced firsthand the work that Haymarket Center has been doing to assist those experiencing homelessness seeking shelter on the CTA by joining our outreach team for an 11 p.m. ride-along as we provided services on the Blue Line.

Haymarket Center President and CEO Dan Lustig spoke that night, saying “Tonight you will see our outreach team in action. I think they are heroes among us, serving the underserved with kindness and compassion. Sometimes, their encounters are only a hello and a smile. Sometimes they provide food, Narcan, rides to shelters, and assistance with a host of other needs. I am grateful for all they do each and every day.”

This branch of Haymarket Center’s work, reaching out to the unhoused who haven’t come directly to our facilities, began in earnest in 1990 with the addition of O’Hare homeless outreach program to support the growing number of individuals seeking shelter at the airport.

Outreach Team members focus on addressing basic needs, creating a pathway to housing, detoxification services, and referring those experiencing homelessness to other agencies that can assist them in their journey to housing security. Just last year, Haymarket’s O’Hare program had more than 15,000 encounters with nearly 1,000 individuals.

With that data in mind, in 2023 Haymarket Center expanded our outreach efforts by moving services onto the Blue Line. In just the last year, Haymarket Center served more than 1,800 unique individuals on the Blue Line alone, around double the amount served in the airport alone.

As Dr. Lustig closed his statements that night, he said “This is a crisis decades in the making, and it won’t be solved overnight. But I am hopeful that together we can and will bring about change for the better.” Thank you for supporting our work to create that change.

Read the WGN Article.

Haymarket Center Expands Employment Support

Recognizing that stable employment facilitates sustained recovery, Haymarket Center has been offering job training and placement through the Ann F. Baum Family Enrichment Center for decades. Starting this month, an ambitious and innovative expansion will allow even more people in need to access resources.

The Supported Employment Program, funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will ensure that patients who face barriers to employment due to substance use disorders and mental health issues have the skills and support they need to successfully obtain long term employment.

This program will help hundreds of people with substance use disorders find and maintain steady employment by crafting employment plans and goals based on patient skills and interests and monitoring patient progress to the point of hire. In addition to career assistance, the program will also connect patients to mental health counseling and immediate access to primary care.

“Prejudice towards people with substance use disorder and mental illness has kept countless qualified people from steady employment,” explained Haymarket Center President and CEO Dr. Dan Lustig. “By expanding our employment services, Haymarket is helping people find success.”

Meet Dr. Amber Morris, Manager of the West Loop Pharmacy

To better serve our patients and increase access to medications, Haymarket Center will be opening its West Loop Pharmacy in January 2024. The pharmacy will allow Haymarket Center patients to have medical treatment, counseling services, and key medications all under one roof. Managing the pharmacy will be Pharmacist Dr. Amber Morris, who comes to Haymarket with years of experience in managing pharmacies and working in the field of substance use treatment. Dr. Morris sat down for an interview to discuss her experience and her plans for the new pharmacy.

Q: What made you decide to join Haymarket Center?

AM: Before I joined Haymarket Center, I was managing a Walgreen’s pharmacy, and I wanted a position with more rigor and a faster pace to it. I have previous experience managing specialty pharmacies, specifically the pharmacy of Insight (formerly Mercy) Hospital and Medical Center, so when I saw that Haymarket was looking for someone to manage its new pharmacy, it felt like the perfect combination of where I wanted to go and what I’ve already done.

Q: What are the advantages of having an onsite pharmacy.

The major advantage of having an onsite pharmacy is direct access for patients.  Most of our patient population are prescribed multiple medications which are currently filled at outside pharmacies.  We’re now able to route those prescriptions to our onsite location, which will be a major convenience for our patients. We are a 340b pharmacy which means we are eligible to receive medications at a discounted rate, which will provide much lower cost or no cost at all for our patients. We are also able to assist with the medication intake process and help facilitate medication reconciliations.

Q: How will the West loop Pharmacy improve patient care.

West Loop Pharmacy will have a direct impact on patient care by providing medication consultations for our patients. This will be a detailed overview on what the medication is used for, how to use it properly, and counseling points. We will also be conducting drug utilization reviews on every medication that is prescribed. This is when the pharmacist thoroughly analyzes the indication, effectiveness, safety, and review any drug-to-drug interactions.  Upon review the pharmacist will intervene and make recommendations to ensure the best patient outcomes.

Q: What are your goals for the West Loop Pharmacy?

AM: Right now the focus is on the basics: staffing, supplies, patient services, things like that. Once we get our footing, the goal for me and the rest of the pharmacy staff will be finding ways to support clinical staff through revising current programs and practices or coming up with entirely new ones. After that, we’re going to try and get the pharmacy open on a 24/7 basis from its current hours of 9-5 during the workweek. It will be a lot, but it’s all very attainable.

Q: Finally, what excites you the most about working at Haymarket Center?

AM: Oh, there are so many things! If I had to pick one, I would probably say that I’m very impressed by the sense of collaboration and dedication that I see in the staff here. It’s so clear to me that everybody who works at Haymarket is committed to the health and wellness of every patient that walks through its doors, so I feel very comforted in seeing people who share my same commitment to care.

Finding Peace: Ashley’s Story

Like many people who came to Haymarket, alcohol had gained a foothold in Ashley’s life that she couldn’t shake off. Initially turning to alcohol to cope with stress, Ashley had become dependent on it, to the point of drinking heavily every day.

“I knew I had a problem, but I had gotten into such a habit that I almost didn’t care,” Ashley said. Ultimately, it was Ashley’s children who prompted her decision to seek treatment. She wanted to repair the damage that alcohol use had done to their relationship, and Haymarket Center was there to help. The first few days at Haymarket were challenging, but in time, Ashley found her footing.

“I think what made the biggest difference in my recovery was the staff here at Haymarket,” Ashley explained. “When I first got to Haymarket, I was very anxious, but hearing my peers in group therapy and even staff members tell me their own recovery stories made me feel comfortable here.”

Haymarket Center’s approach focuses on treating the whole person to create a sustainable, thorough recovery. With family-focused care that includes individual and group counseling, parent education, and on-site childcare we help parents heal from substance use disorders while also strengthening their families.

Ashley completed treatment at Haymarket Center in 2014. Since then, her road to recovery has taken her to incredible places. She learned how to successfully manage her alcohol use disorder and she has rebuilt relationships with her children. These are impressive accomplishments in their own right, but Ashley went a step further. After completing treatment at Haymarket, Ashley went on to get her master’s degree in social work, all while balancing a full-time job and being a parent.

“I had always wanted to go back to school, but addiction got in the way,” explained Ashley. “With the support of friends and family, and with everything I learned at Haymarket Center, I was able to get it done.”

Today, Ashley lives happily with her children, and takes pride in a career as a Community Support Specialist, where she helps other people manage and overcome issues that she once faced. When asked about the greatest difference Haymarket has made in her life, Ashley was quick to give an answer: Haymarket Center has helped her find peace.

 “For the first time in a while, I have peace of mind,” she said. “I learned how to make peace with myself and navigate things in a healthy way. I have my motherhood back, I have my friends back who I lost touch with, and the seed of all that was planted at Haymarket Center.”

For a time, Ashely lived her life suffering with a harmful substance use disorder. Today, she is living a life that she, not alcohol, is in firm control of.

Hear Ashley herself talk about life after treatment.

Ashley and thousands of people like her accomplish tremendous things in their journeys to recovery, and we are proud of every journey that runs through Haymarket Center.

Please consider giving to Haymarket Center in support of patients like Ashley. Your gift can help someone get a second chance and close the book on substance use disorders. Any gift you make, no matter how big or how small, makes a world of difference to the people who we serve and support.

Make a gift below:

Shop our Amazon Wishlist this Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is November 28! This day is defined by generosity and encouraging people to support their community through doing good.

Help us celebrate with our patients by making a purchase off of our Holiday Amazon WishlistIt’s as easy as adding a few items to your cart while you do your holiday shopping! This year we are seeking donations of recreational items, arts & crafts supplies, and other gifts that focus on mindfulness and healthy coping skills. We are also seeking essentials for clients who arrive without them. 

Each item purchased by our supporters will brighten the lives of our patients as they go through their recovery journey. 

Want to hold a drive with your workplace or community? Contact Maggie Burke at or (312) 965-9990.

Haymarket brings community together with the West Loop Bavarian Block Party

Last Month, Haymarket’s neighbors and supporters enjoyed a weekend of brats, pretzels, and fun courtesy of the Center’s West Loop Bavarian Block Party. Hosted by the Associate Board, the Block Party serves to introduce the community to our mission.

The event grew from an annual birthday celebration for our founder Father Mac. We continue to honor that tradition through a family-friendly atmosphere with performers and activities geared towards children during the afternoon. True to the Oktoberfest theme, attendees were able to enjoy authentic German cuisine, live music (including traditional German polka), and fun games, all while supporting Haymarket Center.

“In hosting this event, the main goals of the Associate Board were to raise awareness about Haymarket Center’s mission and to celebrate with our neighbors in the West Loop,” said Kelly McKay, President of the Associate Board of Haymarket Center. “Looking at the crowds we had each night, I certainly feel like we accomplished that.”

Thank you to our Associate Board, sponsors, vendors, volunteers and attendees for supporting the event.

Check out photos from the event.

Patients Come Together for “Stigma Spit” Open Mic Nights

Last month, members of Haymarket’s Health and Wellness Department revived the Center’s popular Stigma Spit, an open mic event for patients to express their feelings about substance use and the stigmas attached to it.

“We started Stigma Spit a few years ago, but we had to put it on pause when the pandemic came around,” explained Ronnie Hughes, a Coordinator for the Health and Wellness Department and the principal organizer of Stigma Spit. “We want to bring this back to help our clients socialize and demonstrate to them that sober-living can be fun.”

Stigma Spit has two rules: no booing, and only tasteful material is allowed. At September’s event, patients performed a variety of acts that included singing, skits, poetry, and much more. For many of the original pieces, patients incorporated messaging about their recovery.

“We consistently have had excellent performances at Stigma Spit,” said Hughes. “We had one patient a few years ago recite Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and I still remember that one because it was so powerful. That same year we also had patients in the same unit do a skit about their transition from substance to sober living, and that was very well-done.”

Youth Prevention Team Prepares for Red Ribbon Week

The last week of October marks Red Ribbon Week, where children are taught the importance of avoiding alcohol, drugs, and other harmful substances. To bring its message of substance use prevention to more children, Haymarket Center is joining together with local schools to celebrate Red Ribbon Week.

Haymarket Center’s Youth Prevention Specialists will join the staff of Woodson South Elementary School and Reavis Math and Science Academy for on-site, informational programming and fun activities. During Red Ribbon Week, Haymarket staff will help students with arts and crafts projects and door-decorating contests as well as organize games and other activities.

“Historically, Haymarket Center has been very involved in helping local schools organize their Red Ribbon Week projects,” explained Spencer Jones, Supervisor of Haymarket’s Youth Prevention Team. “As more substances find their way into communities throughout Chicago, we recognize the need to step up and make sure that we’re doing whatever we can to keep kids safe.”

Haymarket Center’s Youth Prevention Program works with middle and high school students at six Chicago Public Schools on Chicago’s South Side. This school year, they have already served more than 300 students. The program is supported by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Chicago Department of Public Health.

To support our Youth Prevention, and Red Ribbon Week check out our Amazon Wishlist.