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Northwest Wayne County


April 10, 2017
The Launch.  On April 10th, we officially launched the Northwest Wayne County FAN Chapter.  With more than 150 people in attendance, the event could not have gone better.  We counted at least twelve judges, two police chiefs and other law enforcement personnel, the Canton Township Supervisor, several lawyers, other community leaders, treatment professionals, family members, and individuals who are in recovery from addiction.  Chapter Vice-President Brian Spitsbergen kicked off the event with welcoming remarks, and Chapter President Lauren Rousseau shared her personal story, as well as shocking statistics demonstrating the severity of the current drug epidemic.  Keynote speaker Judge Linda Davis, President of FAN, spoke powerfully about systemic failures impacting how we view and treat addiction that create barriers to recovery, including stigma that leads to feelings of shame and isolation.  She noted that the opioid crisis is a “silent epidemic,” and that we can’t afford to remain silent anymore.  The evening ended with introductions of all in attendance, many of whom had personally battled addiction themselves or in a loved one, and some of whom had lost loved ones to the disease.  Compassion, understanding, and resolve to make a difference filled the room, fueled by recognition that we can, as a community, find solutions to this epidemic.


May 1, 2017
Community Conversation.  Chapter Vice-President Brian Spitsbergen led our first regular public forum, where we engaged in open discussion with attendees in order to fully understand their needs, with the goal of developing our 2017 monthly public forum agenda around those needs.  Over 60 people filled the room – judges, treatment providers, law enforcement, families affected by addiction, and people in recovery.  Responding to a survey taken after the meeting, many in attendance said they were impressed by the diversity of the group, appreciating the insights and opinions “from judges, psych, lawyers, police, people in recovery.”  Attendees enjoyed “the open discussion” and the “ease of being able to share.”  Several people said that the best part was “learning that you’re not alone in this battle.”  We identified the topics most important to our attendees, and will roll out our 2017 monthly forum topics at our next public forum on June 5th.


June 5, 2017
Addiction & the Family.  Nearly 80 people attended this public forum, where Northwest Wayne County FAN board members Angela Bogota and Andy Hopson shared their personal experiences with addiction, challenges their families faced, and how family interaction both helped and hurt the recovery process.  Angela is a young person in long-term recovery from addiction; Andy is in long-term recovery and is also the father of children who have struggled with addiction.  Martha Nacy, a therapist from Brighton Center for Recovery with extensive experience working with families affected by addiction, delivered an outstanding PowerPoint presentation through which she shared information and expert advice on how family members should deal with a loved one struggling with addiction.  This forum was so well-received and so informative that the City of Wayne asked us to do an encore performance.  We will be presenting this same forum and speakers on July 26th at the HYPE Recreation Center in Wayne at 6:00 pm.

July 3, 2017
Special Movie Event: The Anonymous People.  Since this public forum fell on the July 4th holiday weekend, we decided to do something special - a movie night followed by a panel discussion. We showed the film “The Anonymous People”, a fabulous documentary about the 23 million Americans living in recovery and the growth of the recovery advocacy movement. Our speakers following the film – Andre Johnson, President and CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project; Deborah Garrett, Director of Recovery Communications at REAL Michigan (and one of our Advisory Board members); and Scott Masi, President of Unite to Face Addiction Michigan and Outreach Specialist at Brighton Center for Recovery – were powerful. Nearly 50 people attended, more than expected given the holiday weekend, and the event was longer than usual, lasting from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Nevertheless, nearly everyone stayed to the very end, enjoying the discussion, the popcorn and chips, and the fellowship and support and Foundations Recovery Network for providing the popcorn, chips, and water for our event.

August 7, 2017
Understanding Addiction. At this forum, Dr. Carl Christensen, a nationally recognized speaker and addiction medicine specialist, presented on the topic “what is addiction?”  His focus was on how addiction develops and impacts the brain, and included discussion of certain brain chemical deficiencies that can predispose a person to addiction.  Dr. Christensen serves as Medical Director for Dawn Farm, for the Michigan Health Professional Recovery Program, and for the Tolan Medical Research Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at Wayne State University. He has received numerous teaching awards, has been named one of the “Top Docs” in Addiction Medicine by Hour Magazine, and sits on the Northwest Wayne FAN Advisory Board. We were thrilled that Dr. Christensen agreed to speak at our public forum. The evening was highly educational, engaging, and well received by over 60 attendees. 

September 11, 2017
Navigating the Addiction Treatment Maze.  Brian Spitsbergen, our Northwest Wayne FAN Vice-President, led our September public forum, which was focused on “finding treatment”. The discussion centered on how to find the right level of care, affordability and accessibility of treatment, and some new treatment options. Brian, who is also Director of Community Relations for Growth Works, gave a PowerPoint presentation that was packed with information. Other speakers included Judy Davis from the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority; Lisa McLaughlin, CEO of Workit Health; and Joe Paliwoda, CEO of Personalized Nursing Lighthouse.  Roughly 60 people were in attendance, and all who responded to our monthly survey gave the forum presentation an “outstanding” rating. 

October 2, 2017
Recovery Panel. Our October Public Forum featured five people in long-term recovery from addiction, each of whom achieved and maintains recovery in different ways. The emphasis here was on “multiple pathways” - we recognize and respect that different approaches work for different people, and there is no “one right way” to recover. Our Recovery Panel shared their experiences, from traditional abstinence-based treatment and 12-step groups, to various types of medication-assisted treatment and secular peer support groups, including Refuge Recovery and SMART Recovery. 


November 6, 2017
Levels of Care in Addiction Treatment. This public forum presented two experts. Curtis Thornton, Clinical Director at Home of New Vision, explained how professionals determine if inpatient treatment is necessary, versus outpatient treatment or other approaches. Dr. Michael Fox, an addiction specialist and one of our Advisory Board members, discussed the different types of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction - buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone, and naltrexone (Vivitrol) - and when one is indicated versus others. Our audience had lots of questions for these experts, and the entire forum was highly educational and well-received.


December 4, 2017

The Relapse Process. Erica Clute-Cubbin, an attorney, experienced addictions counselor, regional champion of the Clawson FAN chapter, and frequent speaker on the subject of addiction and relapse, gave her acclaimed presentation on the relapse process.  This presentation offered important information on “tips, tricks, and warning signs - planning for success in recovery.” The presentation was especially well-received, given the challenges to recovery so often presented during the holiday season.

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