When Trenton Ducati performed in the film “Addict,” it was an emotional ride that had the star philosophical — an odd feeling he wasn’t accustomed to while on set. But the experience was a welcome full circle for the man who conquered his own drug addiction and turned his life around. In an effort to give back to those that helped him — and those that need help like he did — Ducati started the Kill Meth Foundation, which has grown over the last four years. The initiative gained traction a few years ago through Ducati’s #KILLMETH campaign via Twitter, with apparel sales soon spreading the word even more.
As 2014 came to a close, the Foundation had put in its paperwork to achieve 501(c) (3) status, which would officially make it a charitable organization eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. That status will help the Foundation continue its goal of helping and supporting those recovering from and affected by methamphetamine use.
So what I do is help raise money and raise awareness, do public speaking for Kill Meth and find organizations that are helping meth addicts in particular, and/or drug addicts. - Trenton Ducati
“That whole process has taken this whole year, basically. Restructuring, having my mom as the director, we have a lawyer on board, making sure everything is correct…that’s what we’ve been doing all year,” he says. “We had a lot of good Kill Meth events, our Instagram is doing well and the Facebook fan page is really growing—it’s at over 3,200 ‘likes’ right now. People are actually approaching me to bring Kill Meth events to them, and that’s kind of the end goal — I always wanted to spread the message.”
Once the 501(c)(3) status is approved, Ducati looks forward to a busy 2015 with at least eight events to help raise funds that will be given to larger organizations — like Seattle Counseling Service (a community-based organization that has been dedicated to promoting health and wellness within the LGBTQ community) and Lifelong, which was formed in 2001 through the merger of Chicken Soup Brigade and Northwest AIDS Foundation and whose mission is to empower people living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS (and/or other chronic conditions) to lead healthier lives. King Country, Washington is near and dear to Ducati, who made it through his own struggle thanks to the help from the community.
“We can make sure that we are giving to organizations that are helping meth addicts,” he says. “So what I do is help raise money and raise awareness, do public speaking for Kill Meth and find organizations that are helping meth addicts in particular, and/or drug addicts. We want to be meth focused; we feel that there is a lot of fundraising for drug addicts, but we want to kind of focus on one group because it’s kind of a gay culture killer, really. We want to help with emergency services, funding, housing and shelter, food services, mental health… that is kind of the direction that we want the money to veer toward.”
Applying for 501(c)(3) status has proven to be its own full-time job, which has kept the man even more busy than he already is. Thankfully, he has some help from someone near and dear to him: his mother.
“Her help with this has been…” Ducati says as he fathoms the feat, pausing as he tries to come up with the right word before laughing, “… this would not have happened without her. The Kill Meth Foundation was created for a friend of mine who passed away from a drug overdose, and he was also very close to her — was basically like her son. His name was Scotty. He was my closest friend. She always knew that I kind of created this in his name, and she loved him so much, too. She was always on board, and that was kind of the driving force behind this.”
After a busy trip in New York at an event to help raise awareness — a trip that also included a radio show interview — Ducati came back home exhausted.
“I could have been at the breaking point, but I get to my mom’s house at Thanksgiving and I see that she’s got stacks of paperwork that she’s been doing with the lawyer. It’s an overwhelming feeling to see that she’s working kind of double what I am to keep it moving forward,” he says. “Over this past year she saw that I stayed with it for so long — for four years — so she jumped on board completely and started taking over all the paperwork and dealing with the lawyer, all of the things that were kind of a hurdle for me. I’m really thankful that she’s helping me with this; if I didn’t have her behind me, I could have given up at one point; but now that I have everybody else trying as hard as I am, I can‘t stop. It’s like it’s already ahead of me — it’s going faster than myself, which is great.”
Ducati stresses that this isn’t an adult industry-based foundation: “It’s a lot bigger than that. These are all people, not just people in the adult industry. I just happen to help people in the adult industry, but what Kill Meth does is completely different. I’m just trying to raise as much awareness as I can.”
People can make donations through KillMeth.org (the site is still under construction, but a Paypal donation button is set up), and can order t-shirts through the Facebook page (Ducati hopes 2015 will bring another dedicated webpage to sell merchandise). He looks forward to being involved in even more events, and envisions throwing sober social events sponsored by KillMeth, “maybe where I have a big thing in L.A. and bring in a DJ. We’re trying to show the community that you can have fun in healthier ways.”
After meeting its goal in 2014, Ducati stressed that it was through the support of friends both old and new that enabled the initiative to grow.
“I’ve had a lot of people — I’d say at least 10 people over the past year — that have connected with me, and they have maybe taken a different route with their life. Maybe some people have decided to stop or change their ways abusing drugs, and that to me is the most important. That’s excellent. There have been a lot of people that have reached out via Twitter and Facebook to ask questions, and that really makes it feel…that’s the whole point. We’re trying to shine light in a dark room, trying to bring light on a situation that’s killing — literally killing — our gay culture in particular. And I for some reason feel like I’m the spokesperson for that, and I have traction with it. I have lost multiple friends — including my best friend growing up — so I don’t think I have it in me to quit, and apparently my mom doesn’t either. So the combination of that is where all of this has gotten its traction. Things are where they’re supposed to be.”