Eastwood Rally Focuses on Overdose Awareness | News, Sports, Jobs





NILES – Although no traumatic event has changed the course of her life, Carol Henderson found herself addicted to opioids before taking a path that led to decades of recovery.

“I started out young with the problems of life,” recalls Henderson of Cortland. “I tried drinking, but the alcohol made my stomach hurt.”

Shortly after moving to Detroit, someone introduced her to “bigger and better things” ie opioids, which led to about 25 years of use, Henderson explained. .

Still, one could argue that one of Henderson’s newest bigger and better things was competing in the ninth annual Rally for Recovery event on Saturday at Eastwood Field.

The Addiction Prevention Alliance, a project of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Council, sponsored the three-hour celebratory meeting, aimed at raising awareness about recovery from addiction.

ASAP has formed strategic partnerships to work to address the region’s substance abuse problems and ensure that future generations are not affected. The organization is a coalition of mental health professionals, parents, educators, first responders, students, recoverers and others.

For a while, Henderson “threw bricks at the principal’s window,” meaning she was repeatedly near jail for her addiction. The combination of influences from the church, the youngest of her four children, and the search for a sponsor for a 12-step program, however, prompted Henderson to take charge of her life, she recalls.

“I said, ‘You know what? I must stop. I said, ‘She deserves a mother who doesn’t use.’ ”

Henderson is now a longtime drug and alcohol counselor who also earned a Masters degree from Youngstown State University in Christian counseling.

Lauren Thorpe, ASAP project director, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of opioid overdoses and decreased the number of people seeking treatment in the region. Two contributors were more people isolated from each other and many treatment facilities closed, she explained.

“Recovery is not easy; it’s difficult, ”which makes celebrating success more necessary and more valuable, Thorpe said.

Nearly 40 providers participated in the Rally for Recovery and provided a variety of information and resources regarding treatment options for addictions, depression, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and mental health issues; counseling for people with postpartum depression and birth trauma; the dangers of electronic cigarettes and vaping; suicide prevention; and 12-step programs.

Garrett Hart, creator and program director of Rock and Recovery Radio, noted that the radio and online program tries to serve as a resource for those facing trauma, mental illness and recovering. It is also reaching out to their families, friends and relatives, he said.

The shows, which debuted in late 2011, feature interviews with people in recovery and past, among others, and feature music and positive messages. They can be streamed locally from 10 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday on WKTL-FM 90.7, or by visiting www.rockandrecovery.com.

“The messages remind people that they are not alone,” he added.

Nicole Wesley, Founder and President of Howland-based Nikki’s House Recovery, noted that the 4-year nonprofit provides structure and stability for women affected by drug addiction and recently released from treatment.

It is also aligned with the Northeastern Ohio Community Alternative Program in Warren, which aims to reduce criminal behavior, reduce recidivism rates and improve public safety.

Wesley pointed out that mental illness is closely related to physical illness, in large part because “chemicals determine how your body works.”

“Addicts are not bad people trying to be good people; they are sick and are trying to recover, ”she said. “An addiction is not a moral flaw. It really is a disease. “

Wesley echoed Thorpe, saying opioid addictions and deaths have increased during the pandemic, mainly due to prolonged isolation and the inability of many clients to see their therapists, which has led some to heal themselves. For others, receiving stimulus checks from the government helped, as it temporarily eased their financial difficulties and their incentive to seek help, Wesley added.

She also cautioned against automatically assuming that those who received government assistance used it to feed their addictions. Instead, they needed funds for food and other essentials like anyone else who qualifies, Wesley explained.

The rally also featured a drug addiction memorial in which the names of those who lost their battle with drug addiction were read aloud and honored. A recovery walk also took place.

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