The final day of the Democratic National Convention is over:
• In her acceptance speech Hillary Clinton says the nation is facing a "moment of reckoning" but "we are not afraid."
• This week's speakers have largely sought to contrast a message of optimism with what they've called the dark, divisive vision of America offered by Donald Trump and the Republicans.
Ryan Hampton, 35, stood before his fellow California delegates at their morning breakfast Thursday to introduce himself.
"I have not used drugs or alcohol in 18 months, and I have to tell you, a year and a half ago I didn't know if I was going to live or die," Hampton said. "Here I am today, not only a person recovering from heroin, but a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and I think that shows that we are everywhere."
Opioid addiction and recovery is being highlighted more frequently in the presidential campaign: On Monday, the Democratic Party dedicated about an hour to the topic. And on Tuesday, Hampton spoke on a panel with House and Senate members working to get more funding for a massive bill to expand addiction treatment programs that President Obama recently signed into law.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids — primarily prescription pain relievers and heroin — were involved in 28,647 deaths in 2014, or about 78 people a day.
Hampton said he decided to become a delegate because the recovery community in Pasadena wanted to focus more attention on the scope of the problem. Hampton's fellow recovering addicts campaigned for him and scraped together the money to get him to Philadelphia.
Hampton left his home at Angel’s Way Sober Living in Pasadena two weeks ago and drove the 2,500 miles to Philadelphia in an RV.
Along the way, Hampton stopped at recovery centers and prisons to interview other addicts and their families about life with addiction and how access to treatment is different depending on where you live. His documentary is available in parts online at the Huffington Post.
"People in recovery are everywhere. We are your brothers, and we are your fathers and mothers and sons. We are your CEOs of major corporations, we your employees, your neighbors. We are in your living rooms and we are in your backyards," Hampton said. "It became apparent to me that how can we ever affect change if America doesn't know us?"
While he was on his way to Philadelphia, Hampton got a call from the White House asking if he could stop in to the West Wing to talk with the president's domestic policy advisors, so of course he did. They told him they think more people who are recovering from addiction should speak out.
"Once people identify what the issue is and that it is in their backyard, then they will be able to understand and treat this epidemic with compassion and we can get to a solution," he said.
Hampton said in an interview that he's grateful Clinton has made opioid addiction treatment programs part of her platform, but he plans to hold her to it.
"I'm a Hillary delegate, I love her to death, but when she is president, I am going to hold her accountable on behalf of my community for this issue. I expect action from the party when they win in November."
Hampton said he has added an extra week's worth of stops on the drive back home.
"People are listening, I think the DNC is listening, I think the White House is listening, I think Donald Trump is listening. I just hope that change is made," he said.