Re­cov­ery a chance for hope

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By LEANN SCHENKE lschenke@thekent­coun­tynews.com

— 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.

PHOTO BY LEANN SCHENKE

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.

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