Each day in our country, more than 100 people die from opioid drug overdoses--nearly 50,000 in 2016 alone. Our community has not been spared. In one month alone, there were three fatal overdose deaths due to opioid drugs, including a 19-year-old Traverse City Central High School graduate. Deaths due to overdose now outnumber the number of traffic fatalities nearly two to one.
In 2015, Robert Cooney, the Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorney, was alarmed by the trends he was seeing. He started the Grand Traverse County Drug Free Coalition to bring together community agencies and individuals to explore answers. Prosecutor Cooney became acquainted with Judge Linda Davis and learned about Families Against Narcotics through his friendship with her. He was greatly impressed with the group and wanted to start a chapter in Traverse City.
In February of 2018, Kathy Jones, a local pharmacist, was attending the annual convention of the Michigan Pharmacists Association when she heard Phil Pavona speak about FAN. She was deeply touched by his words and the hope they offered. She had experience with addiction and the pitfalls of finding help through current channels and knew families who had lost loved ones to this terrible disease. Kathy felt that forming a chapter in Traverse City was a real possibility. Phil had given her his phone number and she called him Sunday night on her way home. He answered, and so began the start of Grand Traverse Area Families Against Narcotics chapter.
Once she returned, Kathy contacted Prosecutor Cooney as part of the process of starting a new chapter. Together they began gathering a formidable group of individuals. Because of the relationships formed through the Coalition, Prosecutor Cooney was able to bring together judges, the local school superintendent, local police chief, a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of addiction, and the CEOs of some of the local addiction treatment services, among others, as directors. He and Kathy also included family members, recovering people, and the local manager of HUD programs. These people are passionate about working together to be a part of the solution to the tragic situation happening in the Grand Traverse area.
1st Thursday of the Month
Central United Methodist Church
222 Cass St.
Traverse City, MI 49684
Also available virtually via Zoom at THIS LINK
Meeting ID 842 3712 6121
All are welcome to attend
(Children 10 and older please)
LYN CONLON, MD, PhD, FAPA, FASAM
Dr. Lyn Conlon moved to Traverse City in 1998 after living in Baltimore, MD, where she did her residency in psychiatry at Sheppard Enoch Pratt Hospital. Conlon also served as outpatient chief resident and a psychiatric consultant for Emergency Psychiatry Associates. After moving to Traverse City, she not only started her private practice, but also started working as a staff psychiatrist at Community Mental Health and Munson Medical Center, where she eventually became the medical director for the inpatient psychiatric unit. Conlon became the medical director at the Lighthouse Neurological Rehabilitation Center in 2009. She is an associate professor at Michigan State University, teaching both family practice and psychiatry. In 28 years as a psychiatrist, she has served in multiple capacities in professional associations and on multiple committees, most recently with Families Against Narcotics and the Grand Traverse County Drug Free Coalition. Conlon is proactive in her community, is passionate about her profession, and has received multiple honors and awards. She has had her work published and has given numerous educational and informational speeches to educate both professionals and the public about mental health and addiction. Conlon acknowledges the part the medical community has played in the current crisis and wants to be an advocate for change and education.
Ken Kaufman retired as senior vice president of manufacturing and engineering for Dow Corning Corporation in 2016 after a 35-year career. Originally from the Detroit area, Ken and his wife Ellen moved to Midland in 1981 and subsequently relocated to Traverse City upon retirement. In addition to being on the board of Families Against Narcotics, Ken’s community activities include serving as co-chair of the Five County Substance Free Coalition of Northwest Michigan (SFC), board member for the United Way of Northwest Michigan, and president of the Silver Lake Improvement Association. In 2019, with support from the SFC, Ken spearheaded the Prescription Opioid Prevention Initiative, a multimedia, multi-year campaign aimed at preventing addiction through education on the dangers of prescription opioids. Ken holds a BS in chemical engineering from Wayne State University and a MBA from Central Michigan University.
Suzanne is the coordinator and founder of the Kalkaska Coalition, now known as Live Well Kalkaska Substance Free Coalition. She voluntarily began coordinating the coalition in 2014. In 2020, she became a paid employee with Up North Prevention, an initiative of Catholic Human Services. Suzanne personally understands the struggles for families who have loved ones with substance use disorder (SUD). As a parent of a child with a co-occurring mental wellness condition, polysubstance use disorder, and early childhood trauma, she made it her mission and passion to help those with SUD and their families. She has also lost two close family members who struggled with SUD to suicide. Suzanne believes in compassion and empathy over "tough love" and meeting people where they are at in the moment. However, she does believe loved ones of those with SUD need to set healthy boundaries for their own well-being. Suzanne is a core member of the Substance Free Coalition of Northwest Michigan and a trained Hope Not Handcuffs Angel. She is on the fundraiser and outreach committees of the Grand Traverse chapter of Families Against Narcotics (FAN), and a co-facilitator for the Kalkaska Stronger Together family and friends support group. An active member of Living Hope Church in Traverse City, Suzanne finds support and encouragement there to continue her life’s purpose and mission of supporting families and individuals with SUD. Suzanne and her husband, Tim, dedicated 21+ years to their country; Suzanne as a military wife and Tim as an Aviation Electrician on the F-14 Tomcat and the F/A 18 Super Hornet. Tim was the flight deck coordinator for the Harry S. Truman when he retired from the Navy in 2009 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer. Suzanne and Tim have two grown sons, four grandsons, and one granddaughter, who they adopted as an infant.
Lauren Reed is the coordinator of the Grand Traverse County Drug Free Coalition and works as a prevention specialist for Up North Prevention through Catholic Human Services. She enjoys working with youth, focusing on the prevention of substance use disorders. The holder of a Master's of Public Health degree from Grand Valley State University, Lauren also enjoys being out in the community to provide education and resources.
Addiction is a disease that destroys and overwhelms families. My 23-year-old son Alex lost his battle with addiction. He was an amazing, loving young man with potential and dreams for the future. A Traverse City native and in recovery myself, I share my story in hope that I can change someone else's path and that our community can better support those struggling with addiction. Alex's motto was "Have A Purpose!" My purpose is to be an advocate for recovery and help educate and find solutions.
Tim has been in the Northern Michigan community since becoming pastor of Advent Lutheran Church in Lake Ann in the summer of 2017. He grew up in Livingston County, attended seminary in Ohio, and was a pastor in Maryland for ten years before moving to our area. A person who loves to make music and spend time outdoors, Tim's commitment to helping people in recovery came from his work as a pastor, providing care to families who have lost loved ones to addiction. He is a volunteer Angel with FAN's Hope Not Handcuffs program.
Chris has been an ongoing member of the Grand Traverse FAN chapter since it began in 2018. He is a person in recovery and knows firsthand the deep, dark depths of addiction. Chris has two beautiful daughters, ages 17 and 18. He strives to show his daughters that there is a better way, and that change is possible. Chris believes that it takes a community to heal a community; and that Grand Traverse and the surrounding communities could use some healing. He wants the community and those working toward recovery to know “We do recover."
Jeff Lange has lived in Traverse City since May of 2018. He is a recent graduate of the 86th District drug court program and has been in recovery from addiction since August 28, 2019. In addition to his role on the FAN Board, Jeff is also on several committees for Narcotics Anonymous. He is a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a mentor for a student at the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy.
Lt/F/Det. Kip Belcher
Task Force Commander, 7th District, Michigan State Police
LMSW, CAADC, Director Harm Reduction
Media General Manager, Sinclair Broadcast Group
David McGreaham, MD
Medical Director of Northern Michigan Opioid Response Consortium; Co-Chair, 5 County Substance-Free Coalition of NW Michigan
City of Traverse City Police Chief
Krysteena Burfield, LLMSW, CAADC-DP
Director of Community Based Services, Addiction Treatment Services
Executive Director 217 Recovery, Peer Recovery Coach
Teacher, Founder and President of Youth Neuroscience Organization, 4th year medical student
Assistant Principal, Traverse City West Senior High School