MONTROSE, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Rural Susquehanna county is a beautiful place to live but like most places across the nation, they are dealing with an addiction epidemic. That’s is why at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Montrose they created a “Stop the Stigma” committee.
Lynne Graham, Founder of the committee explains just how big the problem is, “Susquehanna County is only second to Philadelphia in the number of overdose deaths per capita.” With this shocking statistic, the group knew they needed to bring light to a topic typically hidden in the dark. “This is something I believe we need to start (talking about) in early school years. We need to prevent this from the beginning. Parents have to be educated and we need to be not afraid to educate our children.” Stated Vickie Calby, a committee member.
Most committee members have been impacted by addiction themselves. “I’ve had a family member die because of an overdose from addiction. I’ve known loved ones to commit suicide which is often the result of addiction so I personally have experienced the sadness. But many people in the community have (too)”
Stated Ellen Ely
Due to the high number of people across the county affected by addiction in one way or another, Stop the Stigma wanted to hold an event on Saturday for International Overdose Awareness Day, so those who may be struggling, can see the resources offered to them in their own community. Committee member Mary Mushala states “trehab will be there, we utilize many of the certified recovery specialists, which are individuals who were once addicts themselves who have now turned to help those who are in a situation they may have been in…they need somebody to talk to help them cope with these situations.”
Once the Stigma is broken, true healing can begin. “We’ve had family members comment that this is the first place that they’ve gathered where other people understand there issues and their grief and their sorrow and they feel like there’s a place that other people know what they’re going through” Graham states.