By Sarah Shurge – Addiction is a disease that doesn’t just affect the addicted, it also affects the family and friends. Many times, family members struggling with loved ones in active addiction tend to feel ashamed and alone.
Families Against Narcotics (FAN) has the mission to provide education, resources, and support to families and individuals impacted by addiction. FAN seeks to change the face of addiction and end the stigma of addiction, while educating the community, as well as those affected by addiction by creating positive change in the treatment of addiction.
FAN chapters existed in many other regions of Michigan but there wasn’t a single FAN chapter in Wayne Country. That is until a decision was made and a group of northwestern Wayne County members decided it was time to change that.
The Northwest Wayne County FAN chapter was launched in March 2017.
The first Monday of every month, FAN puts on forums to spread information and offer a network of support to those affected by addiction. Experts and guest speakers speak on all aspects of addiction to help the families.
The Northwest Wayne County FAN chapter will be having their November forum in Wayne at a new location. The FAN public forum will be Monday, November 7th, at the Wayne Public Library from 6 – 8 p.m. Prior to the meeting will be a free Narcan training at 5:30 p.m. with a complimentary Narcan kit after the training.
You can attend the forum in person or attend via Zoom. The meeting ID is 402 899 9671 and the passcode is 604110.
“If you or you know somebody struggling with the disease of addiction and have questions, this is your chance to get answers,” said Laura Mack, current president of the Northwest Wayne County Chapter of FAN.
At the forum, questions about addiction and recovery will be answered by a panel of experts including: a Peer Recovery Coach, a Family Recovery Coach, a judge, law enforcement, treatment providers, counselors, an expert on multiple pathways to recovery, representative from Sober Living Homes, and representative from Stronger Together Support Group.
“It’s a way to learn about addiction and give tangible tools to help people,” said Mack. “We welcome people in recovery, family, friends, people that work with people in recovery, people that work in recovery. Anyone can come.”
This will be a free-wheeling forum where you will be heard, and your questions will be answered. You can share your addiction and recovery stories, or ask about treatment, addiction, recovery pathways, the legal system, and more.
“It’s a great resource for the community,” said Mack. “Close to 107,000 people in the United States passed from opioid overdose in the last 12-month span. That number has gone up since last year. The addiction problem isn’t going away and the pandemic didn’t help. Even if it’s not you, if it’s a family member, or a friend, FAN has a lot of resources to help people.”
FAN also provides sober living grants to persons leaving residential treatment facilities, so they can become strong in their recovery.
“There isn’t another organization out there that does what we do. People need help more than ever and FAN is a way to get people help,” said Mack.
FAN started Hope Not Handcuffs with the mission to bring law enforcement and community organizations together in an effort to find treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce substance dependency.
The Wayne Police Department has been a participating agency in Hope Not Handcuffs since March 2021.
The Wayne Rotary Club partnered with FAN and Hope Not Handcuffs by holding two club events (in September 2020 and December 2020) to load backpacks for Hope Not Handcuff participants.
Mack, also the Wayne Rotary Club president, along with other Wayne Rotarians and friends helped load 200 string backpacks with personal care items like: toothbrush and toothpaste (travel size), shampoo and conditioner (travel size), deodorant, hard candy, granola bars, body wash/soap, face masks, hand sanitizer, bottled water, laminated card with local resources such as food pantries, donation centers, AA/NA meetings, etc.
They also supplied items that would not fit in the backpacks such as: sweatpants, sweatshirts, socks and small blankets.
These backpacks and items are placed in bins at every participating police station. When someone comes through wanting help from Hope Not Handcuffs, they will be gifted with a backpack and those items.
More people have come through the Wayne Police Department for Hope Not Handcuffs than any other location in Wayne County. The Wayne Police Department has embraced the program and promoted it on their marquee sign, which has brought people in as well.
“We all need to work together to lessen the stigma for people to get help,” said Mack.
For more information about FAN, you can visit familiesagainstnarcotics.org. If you are interested in getting involved, either by donating supplies for backpacks or bins, or donating money, please contact email@example.com, or contact Laura Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.