Will these heroin deaths ever end?

By. David Adams, New Hope Recovery Center

I was recently asked, “will these heroin deaths ever end?” As long as the masses remain uninformed, unaware, unconscious or in denial about the heroin epidemic, it will be tough to eliminate.  Education is the beginning. So much of the population stigmatizes addicts and shames them, it damages their psyche – it is lowered and depressed. Then there is the family perpetuating the same stigma. Ashamed, many remain silent, embarrassed or not knowing where to turn for help.  Unfortunately this is a generational problem, so there is likely a generational solution, meaning over time, throughout many years.

But there are efforts under way. Attorney General DeWine has motivated several County sheriffs in Ohio to push coalitions, Opiate and Prevention, to address the issues.  I’m involved in both. We are 6 months into formation of the groups, and while progress is ongoing, we are still in the stages of developing effective strategies for change. It takes time. We have been reviewing “best practices” regarding efforts up till now. What has worked, what has not worked. After this review, it’s then likely to take several months to plug in new solutions here in Montgomery County.

In the meantime, there are grassroots endeavors. A new civic group, Families of Addicts-Dayton, has been formed and growing. Most of the efforts have motivated families to become involved in seeking solutions for their individual family members who have addictions. I attended meetings in April and May with 10 people. They sponsored an event this month at the Neon Theatre with about 200 people. They now have two meetings with over 50 people in attendance. <www.foadayton.com>. Also on Facebook.

New Hope Recovery Center is working in our neighborhood with the East End Community Services to educate, inform, and ACT. We have been hosting “A Community Conversation” event where we have invited addicts and families to attend, hear the success story of a person living in recovery, meet one-on-one with mediators, hear from a Public Health official, and if so desired, receive a Narcan Kit, like the one that saved the life of the 20 year old man I wrote about previously.

So, there is a way to intervene and slow down the drug use and abuse. What we are doing impacts a neighborhood, East Dayton, and what’s going on at the state level impacts a County, Montgomery …one person at a time.