GREENVILLE — A Heroin Awareness Informational Open House took place at the First Heavy Metal Church of Christ (FHMCC), in Greenville, March 18.
FHMCC Pastor Mike Fisher said he attended the last Heroin Awareness Open House, in Arcanum Saturday, March 4, to support event organizer Samantha Wolfe and others.
“I liked it so much – I thought it was a good night with good information and I told them they have a home here,” he said.
During the evening, Fisher added names he heard to a prayer list.
“Prayer changes things and we believe that,” he said. “We have a lot of people in our church, who are addicted and prayer is a big part in changing that.”
“Speaking out Against Heroin” is an organization that started with Samantha Wolfe, of Sidney, Ohio, in December 2016.
She was moved to do something after losing so many people she loved to heroin.
“This mission is so personal to me,” Wolfe said.
In addition to Wolfe, other speakers included: Justin Powell, a recovering addict; Darke County Office of the Coroner Chief Medicolegal Death Investigator Joe Van Vickle; Counselor Tisha Sheperd, of Recovery & Wellness Centers Of Midwest Ohio; White Horse Ministry Minister and Life Coach George Kenworthy; a detective from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office and Spiritual Director of Hope in Recovery John Wiltshire.
The audience was comprised of parents of addicts, recovering addicts, pastors, school principals, a judge and other concerned citizens. One mother has a daughter in Darke County jail, who is a heroin addict. During the question and answer period, she asked that everyone treat addicts with kindness.
“I have been thrust into this because my daughter has a very serious addiction – one that could kill her,” she said. “If it wasn’t for that, I would not have been put into this world (of addiction). I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting just to see what one was, and honestly, I came away with a totally new take. These are people I wouldn’t have talked to – God’s honest truth. You have to sit there and leave the judgment aside. If you see someone that looks like they need help, say, ‘hey, are you OK? Can I help you?’ You have to look beyond the person, the face and your fear.
“We don’t know how they are going to react, but we have to be able to put that question out there and really look at people,” she said. “I am telling you from the heart, I have learned. You need to put your personal bias aside and quit assuming the person going through that problem is any different than your daughter, your son or your husband, because drugs are an equal opportunity offender. Drugs don’t care. I guarantee you, the people who look at you and say that will never happen to me, it could – it could be right under your nose. It could be happening right now because drug users are really good liars and hiders. My daughter was on the “Busted in Darke County” website. The comments on that were just down-right nasty towards her. I got on there, twice, and said, ‘I don’t know who you people are, but this is my daughter. She was my daughter before she was an addict and she needs help. If you have nothing constructive to offer to help her, please do not comment. Even after that, people still posted mean comments. Yes it was a choice the first time she used, but now it is terrible. You have to look beyond. They are human beings with a problem. We have to stop being mean.”
Another community member said he wanted to help, but was at a loss as to how.
“I am a bit offended by this “Billy” (Opioid Warrior) that has come to town and said we are all so full of hate and stigma against addicts,” he said. “That is not true. I have lived here all my life and this is a caring community that is willing to help. The problem is I don’t know how.”
Director of Hope in Recovery Jeff Feitshans said to call Hope in Recovery, a fellowship based on Christian Principles and the 12-Steps. They are always looking for mentors and other volunteers.
“With many addicts, the reason they are addicted is they are trying to cope with life and have very little life skills,” he said. “If we can get them lined up with a mentor, willing to spend time and let them catch some of those life skills, that will make a big difference.”
EDS NOTE: This story is part of an ongoing series titled “Fatal Addiction” that will address the drug problem and effects on residents and resources in Darke County.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.