High cost of substance abuse
By James Card
People recovering from substance abuse have a community network at their back.
They showed up on Sept. 14 in the Waupaca High School commons for the second annual Waupaca Recovery Month Celebration. Last year’s event drew in around 70 people.
Scheduled to end at 9 p.m., the event continued past long after as people in the audience kept asking questions and sharing their experiences.
In the commons area, community groups set up tables with information regarding substance abuse and how people can get help.
In attendance were Core Treatment Services, the Waupaca County Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Department of Corrections, the First Assembly of God Church, author James Hamilton, Al-Anon of Faith Lutheran Church, supportharmreduction.org, Apricity Recovery Community, the Oxford House, Cap Services, ThedaCare, Foundations for Living, Agape Help Center, Waupaca County Public Health Services, the Waupaca Recovery Coalition and Fox Valley national Alliance on Mental Illness.
Margo Dieck, community health educator with the Waupaca County Department of Public Health, organized the event.
“We wanted to celebrate Recovery Month to bring people together and reduce stigma and to support the recovery community that exists in the city of Waupaca and Waupaca County. People are in recovery from alcohol and other drugs. We welcome anybody that has any lived experience to part of the coalition,” said Dieck.
She said that marijuana, opioids, methamphetamine are the most common drugs in Waupaca County. Fentanyl is becoming more common and xylazine, a sedative for livestock, is popping up.
Wisconsin Memorial Quilt
One display was eye-catching and solemn. It was a Wisconsin Memorial Quilt. It was created by Bev Kelley-Miller to show hoe the impact of substance abuse disorder hurts communities. On it were the faces of people who died from a substance abuse-related incident.
Miller pointed out that not all people died from overdoses but that substance abuse takes its toll in the form of drunk driving, incarceration, reckless behavior or child neglect.
Her quilts have been on display in Washington, D.C. and travel throughout Wisconsin. In 2015 her daughter died from a heroin overdose. Miller said the quilt is a tiny snapshot of what’s happening in Wisconsin communities.
From the commons, the event moved into the performing arts center.
Hillary Busch, a nurse practitioner at ThedaCare in Waupaca, was the emcee. She introduced the first guest speaker, her husband.
Joshua Busch took the stage and spoke about his childhood that led him to the military. He was driving an MRAP when he hit an improvised explosive device that sent the huge vehicle flying. He survived, the others did not and that was his turning point towards alcohol.
Other keynote speakers were Casie Bessette and Meagan Truman.
Onstage for the panel discussion were Tom Grant, (drug officer, Waupaca Police Department) Stefanie Pedersen (detective sergeant, Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office), Dr. Ezra Lyon (physician, ThedaCare Waupaca), Brittany Durant (resident, The Lake House), Holly Schauland (coordinator at the Waupaca County Drug Court), Judge Vicki Clussman (Waupaca County Drug Court) and Riley Voss (resident, Oxford House).
People looking for recovery options can call 715-390-0726.
Resource fair in Marion
A similar event to support mental wellness in the community will be held in Marion from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the Marion High School gymnasium. The resource fair will be until 6 p.m. and then guest speaker and singer/songwriter/actress Franki Moscato will share her experiences with mental health struggles.
The event is free, refreshments will be served afterwards and it is sponsored by the Waupaca County Suicide Prevention Coalition.