VAN BUREN COUNTY
Families Against Narcotics of Van Buren County was established as a result of a series of events, beginning in 2010 with a car accident that left two Paw Paw brothers seriously injured, and the decisions made for one of the boys’ ongoing recovery. Addiction is not always a choice, as many believe; often it is the side effect of a decision made by health care professionals due to a need for pain management. Sometimes a well-intended prescription can take a family down the dark and twisty road of addiction.
Mary Springer found herself on just such a journey in the years following her sons’ accident in 2010. Desperately searching for answers to help navigate that road, she found that information was conflicting and often less than accurate; resources were scarce, at best. A friend told her about a medical professional’s conference on addiction in Kalamazoo and, desperate for answers, Mary signed up. There, she met Nancy King and Kristi Angelo, two speakers who had both lost their children to overdose deaths. After the session ended and the room emptied, Mary made her way to the front to talk to Nancy and Kristi more about the organization they were starting a chapter of in Southwest Michigan--Families Against Narcotics (FAN).
Mary began attending the community support group meetings, which focused on support and education for the families of those with substance use disorder, and on breaking the stigma associated with addiction that was prevalent among the general public. As her son struggled with his addiction, Mary met Judge Kathleen Brickley, a circuit court Judge in Van Buren County. They were on different sides of a courtroom drama, but found common ground in their passion to help those affected by the opioid epidemic that had taken hold in local communities. They developed a mutual respect for each other.
In the summer of 2018, Mary and her longtime friend, Jack Gregory, approached Judge Brickley about the need to form a FAN chapter in the local community. At the time, the nearest FAN Southwest Michigan meetings were held in the COPE Facility in Parchment, a distance that made regular attendance difficult for Van Buren County families. In the months that followed, the trio formed a board and established a chapter of Families Against Narcotics in Van Buren County. With the help of FAN Fraser, they established a “Run Drugs Out of Town 5K” run/walk in conjunction with the Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival, to raise funds to support their efforts. Its long-term goals were education and assistance in establishing desperately needed transitional housing in Van Buren County.
Mary Springer is passionate about making sure no parent feels hopeless and helpless because of a lack of resources and support. "I felt so alone and so afraid," Mary says. "I had no idea where to turn for help. I don’t want anyone who is fighting for their child or loved one to ever feel that the fight is hopeless. With support, resources, education, and open dialogue, we hope to shatter the stigma and shame associated with addiction to more effectively work towards recovery… because there is HOPE in recovery!"
MONTHLY FORUMS SUSPENDED THROUGH APRIL 12TH DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
3rd Tuesday of the month
Paw Paw Lions Club
59050 CR 665
Paw Paw, MI 49079
All are welcome to attend
(Children 10 and older please)
Judge Michael McKay
Circuit Court Judge - Drug Court
Founder of COPE
and FAN SWMI President
Retired-State Police Officer
Recovery Room Facilitator
Rep. Beth Griffin
DEO Mick Masterson
Drug Enforcement Officer
Wings of God Women's Transitional Home