2017-05-18 / Community

FAN regroups to strategize

By Cindy Centofanti
Staff Writer • ccentofanti@mihomepaper.com • 989-269-9918


Steered Straight founder Michael DeLeon tells his torrid tale of drug abuse leading to a life of crime at Caseville High School in February. He returned to Huron County last week to speak at an event to which the entire community was invited. 
File photo by Kelly Krager Steered Straight founder Michael DeLeon tells his torrid tale of drug abuse leading to a life of crime at Caseville High School in February. He returned to Huron County last week to speak at an event to which the entire community was invited. File photo by Kelly Krager BAD AXE — Eight opiate-related overdose deaths and an increase in drug-related crimes have caused community leaders to seek a new way to battle the epidemic in Huron County.

A round table meeting on Thursday May, 11 at the Huron County ISD building was full of representatives from a multitude of different agencies that deal with drugs, including community education, treatment and law enforcement. Attendees included representatives from the Huron County Sheriff’s Office, Scheurer Hospital, the prosecutor’s office, local courts and the probation office.

Ruth Schwendinger, Bad Axe Prevention Specialist at Huron Behavioral Health, told the group about the steps needed in order to continue to make strides to establishing the new Families Against Narcotics chapter in Huron County a success.

Families Against Narcotics is a community based program for those seeking recovery, those in recovery or have had family members affected by addiction. The organization seeks to change the face of addiction, dispel the stigma of addiction, and educate the community as well as those affected by addiction. Families Against Narcotics also seeks to establish chapters where communities need them the most.

The community-based program was founded in Fraser, when a rattled group of citizens gathered in a church basement in 2007. The people gathered in hopes to find a solution to the opioid-overdose deaths of several local young people. Many of the attendees were also grieving losses of their own, or dealing with loved ones who were battling addiction and didn’t know how to cope.

At the previous FAN chapter meeting on Thursday, April 13, Shelly O’Henley, Substance Abuse Specialist at the Huron Health Department, said that in order for the Huron County Families Against Narcotics chapter to be implemented, an executive board would have to be elected. The board would include a seat for a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and three to seven directors. The advisory board members would consist of upwards of 30 members, and could include concerned members from the community, recovering addicts (one year sobriety mandated) or family members wishing to shed light on what it’s like to watch a loved one’s battle with drugs.

A copy of the by-laws was distributed to each attendee from the many different community agencies and everyone in attendance was asked to look upon them to consider who should be appointed to the executive and advisory board, which will be addressed at next month’s meeting Thursday, June 15 at 10:15 a.m. in the Huron Intermediate School District’s administrative conference room.

Schwendinger stressed the importance throughout the meeting that participation is required on all parts. She said it takes a strong community to come together, but an even stronger one to stand up and know when it is time to put an end to the agony and suffering that opioids and narcotics impose on loved ones.

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