KENT COUNTY-GRAND RAPIDS
The Kent County-Grand Rapids FAN chapter launched in February of 2017. Several years earlier, they were alarmed by the increasing number of news reports on the opioid crisis. In 2015, they began contacting community leaders and partnering agencies in Grand Rapids and Kent County, inviting them to come to the table and open up the dialogue about this deadly disease ravaging our community.
The Board and Advisory Board members are working volunteers, passionate about making a difference and committed to providing quality service programming with integrity.
Our monthly Family Forums offer education, resources, and support for those facing the challenges of addiction. We don’t have the answers, but we are creating healthy conversations offering hope, and searching for solutions. For those experiencing the grief of a loved one lost to addiction, we offer comfort; for those facing incarceration, we advocate for the provision of medical treatment of this disease while in the system; and for those needing other supportive resources, we collaborate in the community in creating them.
We know that all sectors involved must work together in collaboration in finding solutions that will be meaningful.
There is a sense of urgency with this crisis, termed “the worst man-made epidemic in the history of mankind” by the CDC. We lose more lives nationally each year than we lost in a ten-year period of the Vietnam War. Opioid overdose deaths now surpass preventable deaths of any other cause, including car accidents and guns. Kent County has not been spared, and in 2017-18 was identified as one of the top five worst hit counties in the state.
Our membership includes those from law enforcement, the judicial system, health professionals, education, community advocates, family members, those in recovery, and those considering recovery. We offer Real Stories from Real People in our ongoing efforts for education, treatment, and support. We strive to erase the stigma of addiction through education, stressing that addiction is a medical disease and not simply a moral failing, so that those needing treatment can receive it without shame or embarrassment.
We invite you to join us at our monthly Family Forums to learn more.
1st Tuesday of the Month
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Kent County/MSU Extension
775 Ball Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(To join via virtual meeting:
Zoom Meeting ID 931 9327 3342
All are welcome to attend.
(Children 10 and older please.)
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Judge Joseph Rossi
Judge Rossi was elected in November of 2016 and began judicial service on January 1, 2017. A judge for the 17th Circuit Court in Kent County, he attended the University of Notre Dame, where he obtained a degree in English in 1988 and a Juris Doctorate in 1995. Between his undergraduate studies and law school, Joe served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, including combat service in Operation Desert Storm. His final tour was on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, where he worked under the director of global special operations and counterterrorism. Retired from the military as a lieutenant colonel in 2012, Joe serves in the Circuit Court’s Civil-Criminal division and founded Kent County’s Treatment and Support Court, which focuses on keeping individuals struggling with serious mental illness “in treatment...and out of jail.” He currently serves on the board of Alternative Directions, a men’s residential program in Grand Rapids.
Angela DeWinter has been employed with Kent County for 24 years and currently works as a probation officer at the 63rd District Court. She specifically supervises individuals involved in the 63rd District Court’s Recovery Court Program, which she had an active hand in creating and developing. Angela began her career working with victims of domestic violence, then moved on to the Kent County Jail. There, she worked in pre-trial services, interviewing inmates charged with felonies and recommending bond and amending bond to place inmates in treatment services while awaiting trial. Currently serving on the board for the Friends of Kent County Veterans Treatment Court, Angela earned her BS in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University and is also a Certified Criminal Justice Professional in the state of Michigan. She is also certified through the Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals to conduct and write substance use assessments, and as a peer recovery coach. Angela has dedicated many years of service to walking alongside individuals on their recovery journey.
Sarah Zetty has spent the last decade in the healthcare field and is currently studying to obtain her degree in criminal justice. She has been a volunteer victim advocate with the Kent County Sheriff's Department since July 2020 and a board member of Families Against Narcotics since August 2021. Sarah has a heart for service and works to make sure that those personally struggling with substance use disorder--or family members and friends of those who have substance use disorders--receive the tools and resources needed through community outreach. As a result of her personal story of loss due to substance use disorders, along with having family members in active use or abstinence-based recovery, Sarah started and co-facilitates (with Caitlyn Nyhuis) our Grand Rapids chapter's Stronger Together addiction-related grief support group meetings.
Undersheriff Chuck DeWitt has been employed at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office for over 28 years. He began his career at the sheriff’s office as a road patrol deputy and was promoted through the ranks, serving in all the law enforcement divisions at the sheriff’s office. In June 2013, Chuck transferred to the Corrections Division and assumed the role of security captain. Having never worked in the jail prior to this, he was exposed to and saw firsthand the impact the opioid crisis had on the inmates, as well as the additional work and stress it put on the security and medical staff that managed the inmates going through withdrawals. After extensive research, consultation with the county’s legal staff and medical community, and approval from Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young, a partnership and phase one of a pilot study began in February 2017 with the 61st District Drug Court. The pilot program allowed inmates in drug court who were lodged at the Kent County Correctional Facility (KCCF) to continue to receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This pilot program has since transitioned to phase three, which allows any inmate at the KCCF to initiate an MAT program for Vivitrol and Suboxone/Sublocade, and, in the very near future, methadone. Chuck earned his BS in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Grand Valley State University and is a graduate of the Northwestern University of Police Staff and Command, as well as the FBI National Academy.
Janelle Murray (MPH) currently works at Michigan Primary Care Association as the Associate Director of Integrated Health. In her current role, she is focused on substance use disorder services, behavioral health, integrated health utilizing innovative program development and implementation, and project management, along with training and technical assistance. Janelle received her bachelor of science degree from Central Michigan University and her Master of Public Health from Capella University. For the past nine years she has worked in substance use disorder services throughout Michigan. An ACE’s Master Trainer for the state of Michigan, Janelle is also a certified prevention specialist and naloxone/Narcan trainer. Her portfolio of substance use disorder knowledge (prevention, treatment, and recovery), trauma informed care, adverse childhood experiences, education, and pharmacological and holistic care gives her a diverse background and expertise.
Chris has been the Assistant County Prosecutor for Kent County for more than twenty years, and has recently been elected county prosecutor. Having grown up in the area, he sees the impact that this epidemic has had in the region and the need for committed resources and support for those affected by addiction and their loved ones. He also realizes that the criminal justice system is not fully equipped to deal with all the ramifications of addiction, and that Families Against Narcotics is a contributing advocacy group for the region.
Molly is a business development executive at IT Resource LLC, an enterprise-level information technology services firm. She has worked in business development in insurance, banking, manufacturing, and healthcare before moving into the technology world thanks to a customer who admired her passion for putting people and solutions together to help businesses succeed. Molly’s educational background includes a BS in health, education, and consumer sciences from the University of Detroit Mercy, and a master’s in management from Aquinas College. She also holds certifications in sales for a variety of technology solutions. After losing her 23-year-old daughter to an overdose in 2016, Molly founded and remains president of Meghan’s ARMY, a substance use disorder and mental health education and support organization for families in need. She is also on the board of directors for the Mid-Michigan Banking Group, and is a committee member for the Michigan Bankers Association’s Michigan Traveling Circus, serving bankers and vendors across the state. Molly is excited to continue her passion for helping others through her FAN board position.