Saving Lives

Community efforts to contribute to making a significant reduction in opioid drug overdoses and overdose deaths have been interfered with by the COVID pandemic. Instead of seeing a decline in overdoses, we are experiencing a surge in overdoses throughout the country. I know that I have been personally affected by the isolation that was forced upon us by a virus. We all have had to navigate our world differently during this time of COVID. Connecting socially is so important to us as humans.  Positive social support is especially vital for those with a substance use disorder during recovery. Sam Quinones describes in his book, Dreamland…The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic that heroin thrives in isolation. This is true for an addiction to any substance.  

Sam Quinones goes on to say, “I believe more strongly than ever that the antidote to heroin is community.”  

But many during the past year have been forced into quarantine and on top of that, have lost jobs increasing the feelings of stress and uncertainty and a disconnect from community.  Isolation, stress, uncertainty seems a recipe for relapse.  It is so important for us to keep abreast of available supports. A Place For Mary lists programs, support groups, other resources and crisis numbers for ourselves and our loved ones. And if we are concerned that a loved one may overdose on an opioid, we have an opportunity to mail order through the DAWN project at the Lucas County Health Department two doses of Narcan (also known as “Naloxone”) Narcan is a remedy for an opioid overdose. Administered in the nostril, the drug will reverse the overdose. I recommend carefully reviewing the video that comes with the dosage as it is important to understand not only how to administer, but how the drug works and the protocols involved in administering. To learn more about Narcan and how to receive it for emergency purposes, go to: 

Narcan (Naloxone) Training | Toledo Lucas County Health Department If you live outside of Lucas County and in the state of Ohio, you can locate a DAWN Project site by going to: List of Project DAWN Sites by County | Ohio Department of Health  You can also ask your pharmacy whether they dispense Narcan. Many pharmacies across the states do dispense Narcan without a prescription and the costs are covered or partially covered by many insurance plans.  

Narcan saves lives. Connecting or reconnecting to treatment cannot happen if the overdose is not reversed.  

DRUG TAKE BACK DAY April 24, 2021

Since 2010, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has partnered with Law Enforcement agencies across the United States to “take back” unused and expired medications from the homes of citizens during semi-annual Drug Take Back Days. As a result of this concerted effort, more than 6,842 tons of medications have been collected and removed from potential abuse. Once again, the Greater Toledo Area, through the coordination of the Sylvania Community Action Team and with support from the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas county will be participating in this effort. On Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Lucas County Police departments, local pharmacies, hospitals, and other community support groups will take part in our local Drug Take Back Day.

This event is designed to make it easy for us to remove potentially addictive substances from our homes. Fatal drug overdoses remain the number one cause of accidental deaths in Ohio. As many of us are keenly aware, prescription opioid abuse can lead to heroin and other opioid addiction. Many addicted to heroin began their addiction by misusing prescription pain medications.

Many people get their supply of opiates (such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin) for non-medicinal purposes from the homes of their parents, grandparents, or family friends. We can take action against the growing overdose epidemic by safely storing prescription medications and disposing of unused medications.

If you have unused or outdated prescription medications at home, this is your chance to clean out the medicine cabinet, nightstand, kitchen shelf or wherever you have stored old prescription medications and dispose of them safely at a Take Back collection site on April 24th.

Here is a list of the Drug Take Back Day collection sites in Lucas County:

Drug take back Ad spring 2021.jpg

Follow this link to locate a Take Back collection site in areas throughout the United States: https://takebackday.dea.gov/#collection-locator

Please note that permanent drug drop boxes are available in Lucas County for disposal of medications at any time of the year. Click on this link to find a drop box near you: https://d3kvsa3kfj2pqv.cloudfront.net/uploads/images/LucasCoDropBoxLocations-2021.pdf?mtime=20210405131334

Contact Kathy Schnapp, Prevention Educator, Harbor, kschnapp@harbor.org, for free presentations on the Heroin and Opiate Epidemic in Lucas County for your organization, business, or or community group.

An Introduction …….

I will be managing A Place For Mary website and will be periodically blogging on the site and, therefore, thought I would introduce myself to you. I first want to thank all of those who have followed this site since its inception in 2016.  I hope that you have been passing forward any of its content that may have helped inform you about addiction and supports for families. Special thanks to Betsy, whose dedication to providing a safe place for families to visit to find resources has been admirable and never ending.   

l am Kathy from Harbor and I will be taking over this website as part of Harbor’s Heroin/Opiate Initiative. The initiative is made possible through funds provided by the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County. It was organized in 2014 as a response to the overdose epidemic and consists of the provision of video-based presentations that bring awareness and education about the overdose epidemic. You may have seen the logo and viewed the video on this website.  

I am proud to be the current provider of most of the initiative’s presentations. I am motivated to this work because of the impact addiction has made on me.  As I grew up, I experienced addiction in my family…. but I had no name for it. It was never talked about. My father would brag that he never had a cigarette to his lips, and that he would never drink to access. But he did not mention that his father, a heavy smoker, lost a job as a firefighter in Detroit and that he moved his family to Toledo to find work because of his alcoholism. Although I did not know that my Grandfather was addicted to alcohol, I did know that many of my relatives had “a drinking problem.” I did not know until years later what that meant. I am describing stigma here. My heart broke when I heard Mary’s story. I identified with the isolation she must have felt when she tried to navigate through her son’s addiction. Addiction to any substance, whether it is alcohol, prescription medications, cocaine, heroin was, in my growing up, considered to be a matter of choice and succumbing to any substance, a matter of weakness. Addiction was shameful to talk about, was avoided and the consequence of the avoidance is still, in my situation, being experienced.  

We know better now. Addiction, or substance use disorder, is a relapsing, treatable disease of the brain.  We must not succumb to stigma, but fight stigma.  The first steps are information and support.  That is what A Place For Mary is all about. This site provides information about the disease and most importantly, information about the resources available for the family so that the silence is broken.  My fervent hope is that no one lingers in the stigma as did Mary.   

https://harbor.org/services/heroin-opiate-initiative

Is your loved one abusing opioids?

Identifying an opioid abuse problem in a close relative or friend can be difficult. Addressing it can be even more difficult, but could mean the difference between life and death.

This article, “How to tell if a loved one is abusing opioids,” from the Mayo Clinic provides many “look out” points to help you begin to recognize when there may be a problem. It will also address feelings you will experience when you either suspect a problem, or know for sure that there your loved one is hiding an addiction.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-to-tell-if-a-loved-one-is-abusing-opioids/art-20386038

Mayo Clinic

Helping kids and their caregivers in northern Ohio

Occasionally I get emails from reader and supporters of A Place for Mary, with suggested help groups dedicated to aiding families and loved ones of addicts.  One such organization that was recently brought to my attention was Project Noelle.

Keli Clark lost her daughter, Noelle in December 2017 to a drug overdose.  Noelle left behind three young sons. Her youngest two, identical twin boys, then 4 years old are being raised by Keli, their grandmother.  As a result of this tragedy and the responsibility placed on her shoulders, Keli realized that her situation was probably not unique and was compelled to do something to help others.

Too often, children are left behind to be cared for by grandparents or other relatives when addiction causes the parent(s) to become incapable of providing a safe home, or are in prison, or have suffered the ultimate toll, death.  Often, these new caregivers are unprepared to deal with raising children again, or for the first time.  They are forced to handle their grief at the same time as they learn to navigate their new parenting responsibilities.

Affected children might now have safe living environments, but they too need help to comprehend the sudden change in their lives; where their parent have gone, why they might not be coming back, and help to understand that its not their fault.

Project Noelle tries to fill these needs.  They offer emergency clothing and diapers, back-to-school haircuts, and Christmas and other holiday gift baskets for kids.  Support groups are available for children aged 5-12, teens and grandparents raising grandchildren, as well as grief support for those who have lost someone to addiction.  They also, with the help of donations and generous sponsors, organize events for kids and caretakers, such as an annual luau party with games, prizes, food and face painting, as well as concerts and toy drives.

*The current Covid-19 pandemic has forced a change in the format of these types of fun events, but they still continue in a creative online format via Zoom.   

A sample of upcoming 2020 events and support chats include: (registration for all events can be found at the Project Noelle website – www.projectnoelle.com)

Virtual Luau – a Hawaiian Luau Party – Sunday July 26, 2020 from 2-3pm.  Ariel and Spiderman will be joining the Zoom party!  Every kid gets a free luau bag!

Eyes Wide Open – Teen Talking Circles – for girls aged 13-17 – Wednesday August, 2020 from 7-8pm

Game Changers – for guys aged 13-17 – Thursday August 6, 2020 from 7-8pm

Project Noelle is based in Sandusky, Ohio and reaches out to 14 northern Ohio counties.

You can reach Executive Director, Keli Clark via email at: projectnoellehelps@gmail.com for further information.

Here’s a list of all the counties that Project Noelle serves, and the contact person in each:

Ashtabula County-   Natalie Miller           nataliemiller@projectnoelle.org
Crawford County-    Keli Clark                   keliclark@projectnoelle.org
Cuyahoga County –  Shilo Tenbrook         shilotenbrook@projectnoelle.org
Erie County:              Evelyn Quinn           Evelynquinn@projectnoelle.org
Geauga County-       Natalie Miller            nataliemiller@projectnoelle.org
Hancock County-     Caleb Eachus            calebeachus@projectnoelle.com
Huron County-         Jeanne McKenzie     Jeannemckenzie@projectnoelle.org
Lake County-           Natalie Miller            nataliemiller@projectnoelle.org
Lorain County-       Carol Bauer                Carol@projectnoelle.com
Lucas County-        Nettie Brown              Nettiebrown511@gmail.com
Ottawa County-     Laura White               Laurawhite@projectnoelle.org
Sandusky County- Teresa Gebard           teresa.projectnoelle@yahoo.com
Seneca County-     Caleb Eachus              calebeachus@projectnoelle.org
Wyandotte County-  Stephanie Smith    stephaniesmith@projectnoelle.org

 

Thank you for reading A Place for Mary.  I hope you find some helpful information on our website.  Please click FOLLOW and enter your email address for notifications when new posts are made.

How are you handling Covid-19?

Covid-19 has affected everyone.  Isolation can be extremely difficult on those dealing with addiction, or those helping others with addiction.

The Addiction Policy Forum is asking for your help.  They are conducting a voluntary survey to gather information on how Covid-19 is affecting those with addiction in their lives.  If you would like to participate in this survey, click the survey name below.

COVID-19 Survey of Patients and Families Struggling with Substance Use Disorder   

For those of you located in Northwest Ohio, you may find some help at the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board website – https://www.lcmhrsb.oh.gov/   Here you will find a COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline, and other helpful connections.

Thank you for reading A Place for Mary.  Please share with your friends.

Virtual help during the Covid-19 crisis

Loneliness, self isolation and addiction often go hand in hand.  However, in these days of COVID-19/coronavirus, with governmental mandates for self isolation, there is more stress and anxiety for everyone, around the world.

I’d like to share the link to a website I found that will help direct you to virtual/online help during this worldwide health crisis.  You’ll find addiction and recovery help, crisis hotlines, and links to online meetings that you or the addict might not physically able to attend now.  (Click the bold text below)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Addiction/Recovery Resources from the University of Michigan Psychology Department

This is just one of many sites available for this type of information.  A simple search for “helping an addict during Covid-19” will produce many more, should you need them.

Stay healthy, and best wishes that everyone you love pulls through this crisis.