Families Against Narcotics in Delta County began as a dream of a local recovery coach in 2018, after she heard a speech by the co-founder of the FAN organization in lower Michigan. As a person in the recovery community and a worker in the substance use disorder treatment field, the recovery coach had seen the devastating impact of substance misuse on individuals, families, and the larger community of Delta County. The hope for change and tangible action that Families Against Narcotics co-founder Judge Linda Davis spoke of seemed to be exactly the energy that Delta County needed to begin to destigmatize addiction and provide support for affected family and community members.
With the collaboration of several passionate professionals and lay people, a FAN chapter began to form in Delta County. People involved included officers Liza Plourde and John Gudwer, longtime civil servants who stood witness to multiple generations of families being incarcerated due to substance use; Robin Nast and Nancy Kutzcera, firsthand observers of the devastating effects of substance use by individuals on their entire family systems; and District Court Judge Steven Parks, a former prosecutor and spearhead of the formation of the Delta County Drug and Sobriety Court, who had spent years watching substance use fuel the revolving door of the justice system. The chapter was set to launch in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic effectively ended large in-person gatherings. Despite that setback, the citizens involved with getting the chapter up and running got back to work with renewed fervor when gathering restrictions eased.
As a Families Against Narcotics chapter, it is our hope to decrease the stigma around substance use disorders, provide support and resources for both individuals and affected families so that they all can heal to the best of their abilities, and provide the larger community with an outlet for education and conversations around solutions to the drug epidemic in our area.
2nd Tuesday of the Month
200 N. 30th Street
Escanaba, MI 49829
JUDGE STEVEN PARKS
President Term Exp. 12/24
Steve Parks is the Judge of the 94th District Court. Upon taking office in 2015, he was instrumental in establishing the Delta County Drug/Sobriety Court, a highly successful program designed to help break the cycle of repeat criminal behavior by high-risk/high-need offenders by focusing on their underlying addictions. Offenders sentenced to Drug/Sobriety Court are provided with intensive substance use services and are rigorously supervised during their probationary period. As a prosecuting attorney for 10 years prior to taking the bench, Judge Parks witnessed the explosion of prescription drug abuse in Delta County. In response, he co-founded the Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse to raise public awareness about the dangers of legally prescribed narcotics. He was also involved in establishing a program for citizens to dispose of unwanted and expired prescription medication. Judge Parks has been in the legal profession for almost 40 years and has seen the profound impact of substance use on defendants, their families, and the community. He understands the heartache and despair of families who have loved ones caught in the grip of addiction, and is passionate about providing them with support, assistance, and guidance.
Secretary Term Exp. 12/24
Rebecca Bussineau is a mother, an auntie, a nature-loving photographer, and a person in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder. Her lived experience taught her about the degradation of those who compulsively use drugs and the effects that drug use, treatment stints, legal issues, and jail stays have on the family system of the affected person. Through her own addiction and recovery, as well as witnessing the journeys of others, Rebecca has become aware of the importance of supporting not only people in recovery, but those who love them, too; because the problems faced in active addiction often extend into recovery as the person and loved ones try to navigate a whole new world. It is Rebecca's hope that Families Against Narcotics can be a force for good in Delta County, bringing together individuals in active use and recovery, family systems, and community members to share in their common hope for a more fulfilling life for all.
SHANNON TAYLOR HEIGHES
Treasurer Term Exp. 12/24
In addition to Delta County FAN, Shannon serves on the board of directors for Tri-County Safe Harbor and Delta County Hope at the Inn. She is also an active member of the Michigan Community Mediation Association (MCMA), serving as the training committee chairperson and secretary to the executive committee. In 2020, Shannon was appointed to serve on the Michigan Foster Care Review Board. She is currently employed at the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP), where she oversees the resolution services program.
Director Term Exp. 12/24
Liza Plourde is a mother, business owner, and retired corrections officer. She is married with two children and has resided in Delta County her entire life. Active in her community, Liza has also been a member of New Life Church, the Child Advocacy Center, and the Victim Service Unit of the Delta County Sheriff’s Department. Liza joined Families Against Narcotics after 22 years as a corrections officer, where she saw firsthand the devastating effects of addiction problems on her community. She hopes that this chapter of FAN will bring awareness, education, and hope to the families of Delta County that have been adversely affected by addiction.
Director Term Exp. 12/24
Nancy Kutzera works as the Health and Disabilities Manager for Head Start. She has worked for Head Start for the past 21 years and has been actively involved in working with children and families. As an Early Head Start Home Visitor, Nancy worked with many grandparents who were raising their grandchildren because of the addiction struggles of the children's parents. She chose to become a part of FAN because she has seen the devastating effects that drugs have had on children, families, and our community.
Director Term Exp. 12/24
John Gudwer has been a Delta County resident for most of his life and has worked in law enforcement for more than 23 years. He started his career as a corrections officer in the Delta County Jail, where he first learned the effects that drugs and alcohol have on people in the local community. John then went to the Gogebic County Sheriff's Department and worked road patrol before becoming an officer for Escanaba Public Safety, where is is currently detective lieutenant. Once John started working as a police officer, he saw the cost drugs and alcohol had on his community--not only on the financial side, but also on the human side. He saw the dysfunction in families and young children growing up in unsafe environments. He saw how drugs were more important to some parents than their own children because of addiction. And he saw how drugs affect not only the person using them, but their families, too. While working at Escanaba Public Safety, John has had the honor of running the Angel program, which helps people with a substance use disorder get into treatment. "If we can get a person into recovery, we not only save them, we save everyone around them from the destruction of drugs and addiction," John says. "Once the addicted person is in recovery, hopefully they can begin to repair the relationships that have been destroyed." John has also learned that there is no real support for the families/friends of the addicted person. "There is treatment and support for the addicted person if they want to find it, but I don't know of any real program or support for the family and friends of the addicted person. This is why I want to be a part of Families Against Narcotics. I am hoping FAN can become a beacon of light for family and friends of the addicted person and give them hope."
Director Term Exp. 12/24
Nicky is a nationally certified community health education specialist and trained peer recovery coach. She is currently employed as the Opioid Health Home Coordinator with NorthCare Network, the funding source for mental health and substance use services in the Upper Peninsula. Nicky has worked in mental health since 2017 and began working in the area of substance use disorder in 2019. In recovery herself since 2014, Nicky continues to learn about the many facets that go into the overall health of a person. Nicky says, "There is more information available than there ever has been previously on mental and emotional health. Learning that all areas of health are interconnected really sparked my desire to continue to learn more on this topic, and to teach others if they are willing to learn."