Families Against Narcotics of Chippewa County was founded in response to a growing misuse of prescription drugs in our community and surrounding area. In 2009 a Prescription Drug Task Force was started when the Chippewa County Health Department and the prosecuting attorney's office began to track the trend of prescription drug use/misuse. With the help of a Prevention Grant, FAN of Fraser came to our area in April 2013 and gave several presentations. This sparked a lot of interest with several concerned citizens.
Just days after the visit from FAN Fraser, a group began to organize community gatherings and share their experiences with drug addiction and the effects that it has had on their families and friends. There were so many people with so many questions. The passion at the weekly meetings was very real, and from that emotion, FAN of Chippewa County was born in June of 2013.
Our membership includes parents and families affected by abuse and addiction, grandparents struggling to understand, concerned citizens, law enforcement, school administrators, health professionals, and recovering addicts.
Our goal is to educate those around us about this drug epidemic, bringing awareness to the forefront in hopes that even more people affected by this insidious problem will feel comfortable joining with us to facilitate a major change in our community.
Having volunteered with FAN for a little over 10 years, I have seen many positive changes take place. I lost my daughter to substance use and know the pain that both the person struggling and families experience. I hope our work here in Chippewa County will keep that from happening to others.
Mary Michaels was a junior in high school when her family moved to Sault Ste. Marie in the summer of 1976. She went to college at Northern Michigan University and then transferred to Lake Superior State University to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Michaels worked at Tendercare nursing home, which was then called “Provincial House,” while completing her nursing degree. Upon graduation, she worked at War Memorial Hospital until she was recruited to work at the Chippewa County Health Department as a home health and hospice nurse. After a 26-year career, Michaels retired from the health department and became a school nurse for the Sault Area Public Schools. Married shortly out of high school, Michaels was unaware that her first husband was both an alcoholic and drug abuser. They had two daughters and encountered the emotional pain addiction inflicted on the entire family. Michaels left that marriage, which was a difficult choice since she was Catholic and the first and only one in her family to ever divorce. Her ex-husband married and divorced again, and ended up passing away in a VA center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 60 years of age. He was on suboxone at the time. Michaels has admired FAN from the first time she heard about the organization. Before she became a board member, FAN helped Michaels with elementary health fairs at the schools, educating young people about substance abuse.
In October of 2020, Heidi's daughter was arrested--but the issues started long before that. Also in 2020, Jenna helped an acquaintance get into treatment for alcoholism. She found it difficult to get her help in Michigan, but was also unaware of FAN and all the great programs that they offered. Through FAN Forums, speaking with others who have similar circumstances, attending Nar-Anon and CODA meetings online, plus reading and listening to books and podcasts, Heidi has learned a lot and has a great desire to help. She had wanted to volunteer for some time, but had not felt the strong connection like she does to this cause. Heidi wants to be part of spreading awareness, providing support for our community, and working to alleviate the heartbreaking epidemic that's destroying the lives of our young--and old--people and their families.
Judge Jocelyn Fabry
Jocelyn Fabry serves as the Chief Judge for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Among her other duties as Chief Judge, Judge Fabry presides over the Gwaiak Miicon healing-to-wellness court as well as the family healing-to-wellness court. Judge Fabry serves on various committees and advisory boards, including the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals (secretary) and Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum (co-chair), and facilitated her Tribe’s efforts to establish a Tribal Action Plan--a long-term strategic plan to combat addiction. As a judge and member of community, she has witnessed the devastating effects of addiction on the lives of not just the people struggling with addiction, but also those around them. As a member of FAN, she hopes to raise the community’s awareness and erase the stigma of addiction, and help spread the message that recovery is possible.
I am a wife, mother of three sons, and grandmother to three granddaughters and two grandsons. I worked for 28 years in retail and gave up my job to care for two of our grandsons who lost their parents; their mother died of cancer and our oldest son died of a drug overdose. My son became a drug addict and the drugs took his life. Our lives will be changed forever. While my son was on earth, I had the title of enabler from my husband and two sons. I learned a lot from my son, so with his death I decided that I wanted to get involved in trying to help other families that are going through the nightmare of drug addiction. It is a sad, sad time for the one addicted, for parents, for siblings, and for friends.
I am a retired human resources manager and currently business manager for a local North American hockey league. I have been a resident of Chippewa County my entire life and am the mother of two sons, and two grandchildren; another grandchild is recently deceased. I became interested in FAN after watching my son lose his job (and indeed himself) due to addiction, and after losing my granddaughter to a drug overdose. Both were high functioning young adults gainfully employed in the community and respected by their co-workers, friends and families. Addiction has torn my family apart. If we keep even one grandparent, parent, or child from experiencing the terror, shame, humiliation, grief, and disbelief associated with such tragic circumstances, I truly believe that all of our hard work for FAN will not be in vain.
My name is Jenna Sanderson and I am the sister of someone who struggled with a substance use disorder (SUD). Currently, I work for Bay Mills Behavioral Health full-time as a substance abuse counselor. I have worked in the substance abuse field for roughly 8 years and my overall passion is to help people. Like many of those in the helping field, I chose this career as a result of my own life experiences, growing up with an older brother who suffered with an SUD and eventually lost his life to an overdose. Between my career and my personal life experiences, I was lucky enough to find FAN and become an active member of the Chippewa County chapter. Through raising awareness and support within my community, I find peace in the loss of my brother, who couldn’t quite win the fight against his own demons.
My name is Kyra Hopson. I'm a mother of two beautiful boys and a grateful recovering addict. I've also been Community Health Worker for the Upper Peninsula Maternal Opioid Misuse program since 2020. This was a pilot program, which has now expanded into multiple counties across the Upper Peninsula. I'm a certified peer recovery support specialist and also a part time student. I got involved with FAN because I lost both of my parents to addiction--and almost lost myself in the process. Addiction has surrounded me my entire life. Supporting those who still struggle brings meaning and purpose to my life. Raising awareness and fighting the stigma associated with addiction gives space for people with a substance use disorder to change and grow. I'm proud to be part of the solution today.
I moved back to the area after 22 years in Arizona. While there, my adult sons struggled with addiction over the years and are now in different stages of recovery. Life felt like I was on a hamster wheel, and like I was isolated, living with the daily stress of worrying, wondering, and “fielding” the constant challenges of having addicted adult children. After one of my sons overdosed in my bathroom, I knew I needed help and education from other parents experiencing similar situations. I was at my wit’s end. I found a support group and learned how to change my own behaviors and thinking, so I could still be supportive of them and also move forward with my own life. When I moved back to Michigan a couple years ago, I started a support group for parents in this area with the hope of reaching out and supporting other parents who may be struggling like I did. I learned about FAN and began getting involved in their events/forums last year. Now I am excited to be facilitating their family support group “Stronger Together,” which started in the fall of 2023. I'm also helping FAN in their continued efforts to fight for positive changes in the battle against substance use disorder in our community.
Retired Michigan State Police Trooper
Retired MDOC and Person in Recovery
Concerned Citizen, Parent of Son in Recovery
Person in Recovery
Sault Ste. Marie City Commissioner
Michigan Department of Corrections
Dr. Timothy Hall
Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools
Former Executive Board Member
Chief Executive Officer
War Memorial Hospital
Chippewa County Health Department
Mother of Person in Recovery
Service Coordinator KMG Prestige
Dennis J. McShane
Chippewa County Prosecuting Attorney
Person in Recovery
Daniel J. Reattoir
EUP Intermediate School District
Education Director, Superintendent
Chippewa County Health Department