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By Renee Summers
Telegram Reporter 

Families Against Narcotics Supports Local Communities

 

The opioid epidemic in Michigan affects thousands of families each year. In 2020, the state saw 1,911 deaths from synthetic narcotics overdoses including Fentanyl and 447 deaths from heroin overdoses that same year. More than a decade prior, heroin overdoses were shaking communities around the state and in 2007, Families Against Narcotics was formed by a group of concerned citizens which included former Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Linda Davis. The community-based organization began in Fraser and quickly spread across the state. Today, there are nearly two dozen Families Against Narcotics, or FAN chapters across Michigan. "Our whole purpose is to provide education and support to those family members who have loved ones that struggle with the disease of addiction," says Dara Cockrum, Vice President of the Northwest Wayne Chapter of FAN, which was established in 2017. "It's really any kind of addiction, but because the opiate-use disorder is such a rampant thing right now, a lot of our focus is on opiate and heroin addiction." FAN provides education about substance abuse by way of public forums held the first Monday of each month. The forums are open to anyone interested in attending. Prior to each forum, free Narcan training is offered to anyone wanting to learn how to properly administer the medication. Attendees of the training receive a free naloxone (Narcan) kit. In 2017, FAN launched Hope Not Handcuffs, an initiative aimed at providing a collaboration between law enforcement and community organizations to find treatment options for anyone dependent on prescription medications, alcohol, heroin, or other drugs. A person struggling with substance abuse can come to any participating police department or community agency and ask for help. A volunteer from FAN will work to help the individual find treatment once accepted into the program. Participating agencies in Wayne County include the 25th District Court in Lincoln Park, the police departments of Allen Park, Ecorse, Garden City, Melvindale, River Rouge, Taylor, Wayne, and Wyandotte. A complete list of participating agencies can be found at [email protected]. This year, the Northwest Wayne FAN chapter introduced a Comeback Quick Response Team in partnership with the Wayne Police Department. The Comeback QRT utilizes a team comprised of a plainclothes police officer, a peer recovery coach, and a family recovery coach to perform outreach to an individual or family impacted by substance abuse and overdose. "We have had so many people actually go through this program so far. It's caring about people and you're carrying it to a whole new level. I hope more police departments will undertake that program because it's a no-brainer, quite honestly," says Cockrum. FAN also offers Stronger Together, an addiction-related grief support group for those who have lost a loved one to substance abuse or overdose. The group meets virtually only. Cockrum says all programs offered by FAN are designed to let people struggling with substance abuse or who have a loved one who struggles to know that they are not alone and that FAN's programs are designed to be non-judgmental and minimize stigma. "I think people feel so lonely when they have this disease in their family," says Cockrum, adding that when a person has cancer, the community rallies around them and supports them with pink ribbons, but if that same person was struggling with addiction, the support would be scant. "We have to help each other out, we have to be more cognizant about what's happening in our communities and the best thing we can do is to educate ourselves, and that's what we're here for, to educate people." While Northwest Wayne FAN's service are includes Inkster, Garden City, Wayne, and Westland, Cockrum says many of the nearly two dozen FAN chapters in Michigan offer virtual access to their meetings and support groups via Facebook Live. Northwest Wayne FAN will host its next public forum on Monday, July 10 at the HYPE Recreation Center, located at4635 Howe Road in Wayne. The forum will run from 6 to 8 p.m. with free Narcan training offered at 5:30. On August 31, they will host an International Overdose Awareness Day at Crossroads Community Church in Wayne. FAN is completely volunteer operated and relies on community partnerships to accomplish its goals of educating and supporting individuals and families affected by substance use and abuse. Cockrum says, "We couldn't do everything we do without the communities. We couldn't do the Hope Not Handcuffs or the Comeback Program without the partnership we have with the Wayne Police Department." To find out more about FAN, to find a chapter near you and to learn about the programs FAN offers and upcoming events, go to www.familiesagainstnarcotics.org.

The opioid epidemic in Michigan affects thousands of families each year. In 2020, the state saw 1,911 deaths from synthetic narcotics overdoses including Fentanyl and 447 deaths from heroin overdoses that same year. More than a decade prior, heroin overdoses were shaking communities around the state and in 2007, Families Against Narcotics was formed by a group of concerned citizens which included former Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Linda Davis. The community-based organization began in Fraser and quickly spread across the state. Today, there are nearly two dozen Families Against N...



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