Recovery a chance for hope
— In an effort to combat the opioid crisis and provide hope for those in recovery, the Kent County Local Drug and Alcohol Council is presenting a number of community forums.
Two have been held so far, one in Galena and one in Chestertown, and there will be two additional forums from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Betterton Fire Hall and Nov. 7 in the Millington Fire Hall.
“We hear about the tragedy, and there is tragedy, there is loss, there is pain and suffering that takes place in the midst of all this madness that is overtaking our families and our communities,” said Tim Dove, local addictions authority for Kent County, during Chestertown’s forum that was held Oct. 18. “What you don’t always hear about is the people who come through the ravages of this devastation that find hope.”
Held in Chestertown Fire Hall, the Oct. 18 forum included a “mock teen bedroom” where attendees could look through a bedroom to find where drugs and paraphernalia are often hidden.
Anna Fox, a long-term recovering addict, also spoke on her experiences with overcoming addiction.
The forum ended with free Narcan training, which also will be offered at the upcoming events.
The event was attended by members of the Kent County Local Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council. Additionally, Recovery in Motion, the
Kent County Health Department and Kent County Behavioral Health had booths set up providing information on overcoming addiction and local treatment options.
“In 2016 in the state of Maryland there were over 2,000 overdose deaths,” Dove said. “This is in our backyard. Overdoses are happening all the time.”
Dove said the goal of the forums is to provide hope for people overcoming addiction and to try and erase some of the stigma that goes along with addiction. He said the stigma often prevents people from seeking treatment.
Fox, a native of Cecil County, told her story of heroin abuse, which started when she became addicted in high school.
“The first time I used it I didn’t even know it was heroin,” Fox said. “I passed out for 20 minutes and when I came to, I knew I wanted more.”
Despite years battling her addiction, Fox was able to overcome it with the help of the Whitsitt Center in Chestertown, which she said saved her life. She said becoming clean was not a linear path for her. Despite many efforts to stop using altogether, she used a few times while in recovery before stopping completely.
“When you stop using drugs to numb yourself, you have to feel, and that’s a hard thing to do,” Fox said.
Fox said the turning point in her addiction was when she struck Lt. Tim McDonald of the Maryland State Police with her car while he was undercover performing a drug bust. McDonald’s ankle was injured and Fox was shot in the ear, and as a result of the incident, she had to spend time in prison.
“Someone said this could be my clean slate and that’s how you have to look at it,” Fox said of her time in prison.
McDonald was unable to attend Chestertown’s forum, but has been teaming up with Fox to talk about addiction and recovery. She said he found out she had been speaking in jails about overcoming addiction and has since joined her efforts to help people overcome addictions.
She said her recovery included three years of attending meetings and listening to what other people in recovery had to say about the recovery process.
Fox is now the mother of two daughters and has been clean for a few years.
Kent County’s Local Addiction Authority Tim Dove speaks on overcoming addition to heroin and the opioid crisis during a community forum Oct. 18 at the Chestertown Fire Hall.