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.
After serving almost 30 years with the federal government, Morris retired. As a Vietnam veteran, he served honorably off the coast of Vietnam on the USS Kitty Hawk from 1965-1967. He has a master’s degree in organizational management and has provided classroom and individual instruction at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels. Morris is a former Traverse City Board of Education member, serving as president of that board for three years. He was also the finance officer for the board of the National Cherry Festival. Morris is the board president of Project Unity for Life. Project Unity for Life’s mission is providing persons who have experienced a substance use disorder (SUD) and/or incarceration the opportunity to be a substance-free, responsible, community member.
As a person in recovery, Darick has used his personal experience and strength to be an advocate for others in his community. Darick serves as vice president for Project Unity for Life--which provides a home for those in recovery--and holds bi-monthly house meetings in order to discuss goals for the gentlemen living at Unity House. Darick is a successful small business owner and has shown that by working hard and achieving one’s goals, there are numerous possibilities. In other words, Darick leads by example. This summer, Darick took on a new role to form the first ever co-ed softball team for those in recovery, demonstrating that having “clean” fun is a reality. Darick has two beautiful daughters that he is co-parenting and has just proposed to his long time “gal” Krystal. (If you look hard in the Traverse City area, you will see Darick’s familiar face on billboards for the Drug Free Coalition, as well as in commercials).
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.
A lifelong resident of Michigan, Mark and his family moved to Traverse City in 1982. He began practicing as an attorney in 1980 and served as an administrative law judge from 1994 to 1998. Mark began his work for treatment courts in 2001 with the 86th District Sobriety Court. He also serves or has served on the 86th District Drug Court, the 86th District Mental Health Court, the Grand Traverse Juvenile Drug Court, and the Grand Traverse Behavioral Treatment Court. Mark is a teaching faculty member of the National Center for DWI Courts and the defense attorney representative on the State Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee. A member of the Addiction Treatment Services board, Mark is a volunteer "Angel" for Hope Not Handcuffs. He is also a volunteer for the Traverse City Film Festival, a facilitative mediator, and a Dr. Who intergalactic crime fighter. His favorite recovery book is The Miracle of Mindfulness by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.
Beth was a registered nurse in the community for 35 years before retiring as the Parish Nurse of Central United Methodist Church. Beth has a strong faith and enjoys spending time with her friends and family in nature, playing games, cooking, and listening to rock and roll music. A member of the FAN board, she believes all persons have a gift, and aspires to provide hope and healing to families and those who struggle with addiction.
In 2018, Jesse retired from a 30-year career in law enforcement in county. He and his wife moved to Leelanau County shortly after that. His first experience working with the substance use disorder (SUD) community was with FAN's Hope Not Handcuffs program, where he was lucky enough to be named one of their Angels of the Month. "I tell people that I did 30 years of the handcuffs, now I want to focus on the hope," Jesse says. He is now part of a team of four recovery coaches at Munson Behavioral Health and is primarily responsible for reaching out to patients while they are hospitalized , working to get them into a recovery program that fits their individual needs. Jesse's wife continues to practice as an Occupational Therapist and she and Jesse are the extremely proud parents of two sons, both of whom recently ended five years of service to our country in different branches of the military. Dedicated to making FAN an integral part of northern Michigan's recovery community--for both victims of SUD and their friends and families--Jesse enjoys hiking, biking, and seeking out new adventures in the north. He is also the coordinator of the Preventive Search and Rescue Team at Sleeping Bear.
Born and raised in Marquette County, Ginny has a Bachelor's Degree in Writing (technical & creative) from Northern Michigan University. She is the Sustainability Coordinator at Dial Help, where she began working in 2014 as a Crisis Specialist on the crisis line. She is certified in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and a Stronger Together facilitator. Ginny is passionate about creating community change in the Upper Peninsula, especially breaking multigenerational cycles of substance use disorder (SUD). She was part of the R-CORP projects Beyond the Save and Facing Addiction through Community Engagement, both of which promoted education and access to resources for SUD. Ginny currently supports Communities That Care coalitions UP-wide, helps oversee the UP Suicide Prevention Coalition, and is part of the Marquette County Suicide Prevention Alliance and West End Suicide Prevention Coalition. In her spare time, Ginny enjoys reading, a bit of gaming, triking around town, and spending time with family and friends. Other interests include disability advocacy, LGTBQ+ rights, anti-racism education, women's issues, and ACEs. She loves the white of winter and green of summer, but most of all that majestic queen, Lake Superior (Gichigami).
Chief Judge, 86th District Court; former FAN GT President
Certified Peer Recovery Coach, Behavioral Health Grand Traverse
Lt/F/Det. Kip Belcher
Task Force Commander, 7th District, Michigan State Police
Coordinator, Grand Traverse County Drug Free Coalition
Addiction Treatment Services, FAN Family Recovery Coach, Volunteer Hope Not Handcuffs Angel
LMSW, CAADC, Director Harm Reduction
Officer Jordan Wieber
Crime Prevention Officer, Traverse City Police Department
Regional Coordinator, Grand Traverse FAN; Social Media/Marketing Mgr., Michigan Health & Wellness (Traverse City) and Hyperbaric Wellness Center (Grand Rapids)
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
CEO, Catholic Human Services, Traverse City
Retired Retail Manager/Buyer for shops at Grand Traverse Resort; mother of son lost to an opioid overdose