I cannot wait for tomorrow night’s Care Talks. The topic will be “Coping With Grief” and my friend Betty and I will be traveling to Richmond to share about coping with loss and solutions to addiction. Come out if you can!
New police video raises awareness
of area drug crisis
A new hard-hitting short video by the Culpeper Police Department, viewer discretion advised, emphasizes the life-and-death nature of the ongoing drug crisis with its actual body cam footage of a man overdosed on a bathroom floor. Culpeper Police Captain Timothy Chilton is featured next, commenting on the “staggering” level of opioid overdoses in the last few years.
“The heroin crisis has certainly claimed many lives in our community and has forever changed many families,” states Police Chief Chris Jenkins. “The Culpeper Police Department is committed in our efforts to combat this deadly opiate public health crisis. We will continue to provide prevention, education and enforcement and use all available resources at our disposal to fight against this epidemic.” [Read more…] about Culpeper Overdose Awareness Participates in Awareness Campaign
Culpeper County, like others nationwide, launches investigation into
financial burden of opioid epidemic
Culpeper is joining a nationwide trend in launching an investigation into the financial burden of the opioid epidemic upon the county, its budgets and its departments, which could lead to county government filing suit against major drug manufacturers.
Read more of this article by Allison Brophy Champion at the Culpeper Star Exponent
I was grateful to participate in the Voices of Addiction & Recovery Symposium. Co-hosted by the Windmore Foundation for the Arts, it’s goal was to share the challenges that someone with addiction faces and the reality that there is hope – recovery is possible.
The Symposium included a panel discussion with Culpeper Police Captain Tim Chilton, local Medication Assisted Treatment provider Dr. DeRoo, Prevention Specialist Alan Rasmussen with the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services, and myself, representing Culpeper Overdose Awareness and families who’ve lost a loved one to addiction.
Interspersed among panel discussions were readings of poetry that convey the struggle and depth of pain addiction brings. Community member Ralisha Banks read a poem she authored, “She Is Me,” sharing her experience of growing up in a home with abuse and drug addiction, a pattern that showed up in her own adult life. Her words were the most powerful of the night.
A display of art made by folks in recovery or still struggling with drug abuse was on display, and community resources were on hand for everyone to take.
Read the full story by Allison Brophy Champion at The Culpeper Star Exponent.
*All photos by Allison Brophy Champion
I was privileged to share Joe’s story with the Epidemic Intelligence Council (EpIC) . . .
EPiC was developed by Orange County Department of Social Services Director Crystal Hale in an attempt to bring together people from a cross-section of different disciplines and professions within the community to discuss the opioid epidemic.
“We know there is a problem and things are being done, but I think capturing what exactly is being done and identifying what’s not being done might be a good start,” Hale said.
The average age of patients for all overdose calls in Orange County is 40 years old, and the average age range of deaths due to opioids in the county is 35 to 44.
According to a map produced by the Virginia Department of Health, Orange, Culpeper and Fauquier counties have the highest fentanyl and/or heroin overdose mortality rates in the state.
Read the full article from the Orange County Review HERE
Now three months after his death, we have received Joseph’s toxicology results from the medical examiner’s office.
Honestly, I was shockedby the results: cocaine/fentanyl poisoning. The assumption was that Joseph died because of heroin. But none was found in his system. Fentanyl is everywhere, it can be in anything. Read the full story HERE
Heroin heartbreak: Culpeper mom speaking out after son died from overdose
RAISING AWARENESS – BREAKING DOWN STIGMA – STARTING A CONVERSATION
That’s why I share about Joe, about his (unknown to me) addiction, about his death.
It’s not easy to say “my son used drugs”, but its necessary. And losing two young men I loved within days of each other made it all the more necessary . . . .
REVA—A pair of boyhood friends in their 20s recently died from heroin overdoses within days of each other in Culpeper—a county that officials describe as being at the epicenter of the region’s persistent opioid scourge.
One young man, age 24, worked and had his own business, but had struggled with addiction before it took his life. He left behind a family struggling with the loss.
The other young man—23-year-old Joe Fleming, his friend since they went to youth group together—worked two jobs and had a family and friends who loved him, including his mother, who now wants to break the stigma of opioid addiction impacting families here and everywhere. Dee Fleming intends to cast a light in a dark place.
“I feel a deep burden to talk about these kids,” said the 47-year-old mother, wife and local librarian. “I feel like the more we talk about it and are open about it, the more somebody will say, ‘Yeah, I’m struggling,’ because I think there is such a shame attached to it. We just have to break that down and be willing to let this be a normal part of our conversations because it is a normal part of so many lives.”
Read the full article by Allison Brophy Champion at the Free Lance Star