Recovery: A beautiful, possible thing


Every time I visit Fleming House, I see success stories. Women who have reclaimed their lives in a good and healthy way. In looking into their faces, there is no way to know what they had to go through to get to where they are as they prepare to leave the yellow house that love built in Columbiana County. Jefferson County has its success stories, as well.


Addiction is not something anyone starts out to achieve. For whatever reasons, though, people arrive there. And they must find their way back. It’s not something that can be done for them. They must do it. It’s hard work. And sometimes they fall back and must begin again. Sometimes more than a time or two.

What is substance use disorder (SUD)? It’s a mental health condition where substances are used for whatever reason, maybe to alleviate the emotional or mental pain that a person just doesn’t know how to cope with or, maybe because the person with whom they are in an intimate relationship has gotten them addicted as a means of controlling the victim. There are countless reasons. Addiction affects quality of life, may take a life, as we see all the time where fentanyl is unknowingly mixed into the drugs the person uses.

The introduction of Narcan was a godsend to people who receive a second chance at life. Reports indicate that there is a slowdown in overdose deaths which has been attributed to the use of Narcan, which can reverse overdose by opioids.

Family Recovery Center’s Tawnia Jenkins is the local Project DAWN coordinator. She has noted that while initially people were not so accepting of Narcon, the horizon has changed. FRC keeps talking about it, offers training for its use, as with the upcoming Overdose Awareness Day. Educating the public about the risks of using drugs that are mixed with fentanyl is vital to saving lives of loved ones, and people are getting that.


While Narcan can’t reverse fentanyl, it can reverse opioid overdoses, and it is recommended to use the Narcan if the two are mixed.

Substances that are misused turn on the brain’s reward center and the user craves to feel the pleasure of it over and over again. The more they use, the greater the level of tolerance, the more they need to feel that pleasure. They must have it and will do anything to get it.

The Business Journal recently reported about a study from the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network that the use of methamphetamine is up in Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson counties. That’s Northeast Ohio, folks. It is cheap and readily available. And help needs to be available for those who reach out for it.

“An SUD is a treatable, chronic disease characterized by a problematic pattern of use of a substance leading to noticeable impairment or distress,” says the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Reports advise that there just aren’t enough professionals to help with the mental health issues people are struggling with. There is a movement to encourage students to pursue an education that will fill the gap. It is estimated that by 2030 there will be a shortage of 12,530 adult psychiatrists to meet the growing demand of behavioral health disorders, advises the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Reducing stigma is still on the menu. Addiction can happen to anyone. It is not a failing or a weakness. Shaming can hold people back from getting the help they need. Instead, achieving recovery for the rest of their lives should be the focus. Leave the past in the past and reach for a healthy, happy future. Recovery is possible.

Overdose Awareness Day is Thursday (Aug. 31). Visit staff at Family Recovery Center, 964 N. Market St., Lisbon, Family Recovery Center, 1010 N. Sixth St., Steubenville from noon to 4 p.m. and Oxford House, 320 Benton Road, Salem, from 3 to 7 p.m. There will be free Narcan, mental health and substance use resources, overdose prevention education, information about the Good Samaritan Law, as well as learning how to become a peer supporter. Families also may honor a loved one who died of overdose.

Family Recovery Center programs are funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County and United Way of Jefferson County. For more information about Overdose Awareness Day activities or other programs of the agency, contact FRC in Lisbon, 330-424-1468 or FRC in Steubenville, 740-283-4946.

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