By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – Downriver Families Against Narcotics remembered loved ones lost to opioid overdoses during an International Overdose Awareness Day event Aug. 29 in Memorial Park, calling for more treatment programs.
Speakers, which included treatment court judges and local politicians, called for an end to the stigma attached to depression and anxiety, which often leads to self-medicating, and for more treatment programs, addressing addiction as a disease.
A Downriver Memorial Quilt, and a remembrance board, were on display, letting families and friends remember loved ones lost to overdoses.
Judge Greg Clifton of Lincoln Park’s 25th District Court said he was encouraged by recent judgements against opioid manufacturers and distributors, whom he said misled the public about its addictive properties for years.
Lincoln Park Mayor Thomas Karnes praised the city’s first responders for the many overdoses reversed with Narcan.
Judge Geno Salomone of Taylor’s 23rd District Court, who developed a drug treatment court program to expedite treatment, spoke of the importance of getting those addicted into treatment as opposed to jail. He emphasized the importance of treating addiction like the disease it is.
Clifton stressed the importance of medically assisted treatment programs to ease withdrawal, and noted the value of peer recovery coaches.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District), who lost a sister to a drug overdose, called for mental illness to be destigmatized, so those suffering from depression and anxiety will feel less of a need to self-medicate.
For more information about Downriver Families Against Narcotics, go to familiesagainstnarcotics.org/downriver.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])