Ingham-Okemos Forum Synopses
This month's forum featured FAN co-founder Judge Linda Davis. Judge Davis explained her history with and interest in FAN, and spoke about where FAN was 15 years ago in comparison to where the FAN organization is today. She also explained her role with the Michigan Opioid Advisory Commission. This commission has been tasked with reviewing local, state, and federal initiatives related to education, prevention, treatment, and services for individuals and families affected by SUD, with the purpose of then recommending funding initiatives to the legislature. This “funding” is from the opioid lawsuit settlement, of which Michigan is slated to receive nearly $800 million over 18 years. Judge Davis answered many questions from the audience and was able to shed some light on the current status. There will be several “town hall” type meetings in the future to receive community feedback and provide transparency. Speaking to our local legislatures and educating/providing them with suggestions and priorities will be a fruitful endeavor.
This month’s forum featured Darin J. Southworth, the Chief Deputy of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Southworth discussed the new Ingham County correctional facility—specifically how the approved bond earmarked millions of dollars for “services” within the jail. Discussion items/questions included:
As part of the facility build, monies had been earmarked for supportive/treatment services within the jail. Can you explain how much was allocated and for what types of services (ie, is there a "new treatment model" envisioned)?
With regards to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), will you not only continue prescribed MAT within the jail, but also initiate treatment as appropriate? And, if so, under whose direction and care?
Common MAT medicines include Suboxone/sublocade, methadone, Campral, antabuse, Naltrexone, and Vivitrol. Will all of these be part of/available for MAT? If not, why not?
Explain how SUD and mental health assessments are provided. Who asks for the assessment? Who provides the assessment (credentials, etc.)? And where does the assessment go?
Will there be programming like group and individual counseling (12 step/AA etc.) provided in jail?
What will be available for those who are incarcerated for several months up to a year, and for those incarcerated for 3 months or less?
Will there be SUD education classes for inmates?
Transition from jail to community resources--Are the inmates on their own, or will someone be helping with that transition? If so, who? Explain any diversion programs
What do you need from the community and agencies to make much of what was previously asked go better for the inmates?
How are your staff educated to best understand SUD?
What is your biggest worry (or perceived roadblock) in providing SUD services in the jail?
Explain a bit more about mental health treatment. Do you have access to psychiatrists? And what would mental health treatment look like for the extended jailed person?
Chief Southworth sent to us a listing of all services provided, along with the current schedule of the program offerings.
This month’s forum Featured Dr. Lisa Schrott, a maternal/child addiction specialist and ordained minister. Questions answered by Dr. Schrott included:
What are the harmful effects that are happening to the "in utero" babies when/as their mothers are using drugs?
Are there differing effects to the babies between the substances? For example, alcohol vs. opiates, heroin vs. meth vs. cocaine, etc. In particular, speak about meth because this is one of the most prevalent hard abusive drugs now.
Are there differing effects in different trimesters/stages of development? Some women may be drug-free while incarcerated, and/or in treatment, but then fail when released.
My dad was using drugs at conception. Will that cause any issues?
Is there a particular time in the baby's development that is more important or riskier than other times? Also, what about long-term effects (in utero, then at birth, then as a toddler, teenager, etc.)?
Are there any statistics about the at-risk children who are born to drug-using moms?
Why is it helpful to have some SUD moms on MAT (methadone) during their pregnancy? (The concept of having a child go through one detox at birth rather than several detoxes during development.)
Regarding the previously mentioned drugs/substances: how much dopamine does each provide to the brain, and which are most deadly to a mom and her baby?
How is help for "continued healing" provided to the baby when they are exposed to drugs in utero? What can be offered to them at various stages of life?
This month’s forum Featured Dr. Michael Markey, Chief Medical Examiner and forensics specialist for our tri-county area. Dr. Markey provided trending statistics related to overdose deaths in our county and related them to both Michigan and the country as a whole. As with much of the state and country, fentanyl is extremely prevalent and responsible for most of our local deaths. We are averaging nearly 3 overdose deaths per week in Ingham county.
This month’s forum provided an interactive breakout session, where we presented our 2023 forum topics and asked attendees to formulate questions for the presenters, so that those questions could be submitted ahead of time as an aid in planning the session. The interactive discussion was moderated by our chapter’s president, Judge Donald Allen. Dozens of questions/suggestions were provided by our attendees, and we look forward to a great 2023 forum series. The 2023 forum series agenda is available on our web page under “2023 Family Forum Schedule.” We are once again back to having well over 50 people attend our monthly forum.
Our December forum provided a dinner in celebration of support and recovery. In addition, we were fortunate to have addiction specialist and minister--Dr. Lisa Schrott--present on faith and sobriety, and to lead our group in a candlelight remembrance ceremony for those lost within our community to SUD. Dr Schrott had words of support and encouragement for those who struggle with SUD, for family members who have lost a loved one or have someone who struggles with SUD, and for our community leaders who provide services for the SUD community.
This month’s forum featured our board of directors as panel presenters. The panel included the courts and prosecuting attorney, law enforcement, treatment providers, people in recovery, and P. Pavona explaining FAN initiatives and programs. Questions included:
Why your interest in FAN?
What’s your role in dealing with clients who suffer from SUD, and the philosophy you employ?
Why did you choose this role/profession?
What can you and others in your profession offer the SUD community?
What are some of FAN’s programs and how does one access them?
October is the month that we ask our forum attendees for their input on subject matter for next year’s forum schedule. Our forums are for them, and each year we seek out their input. Over the next 2 months, the Okemos board will create the 2023 forum schedule and seek out presenters to commit.
This month's forum featured a presentation on Family Treatment Courts. There are only 8 counties in Michigan that provide these services, and Ingham County (fortunately) is one of those counties (Hillsdale, Genesee, Kalamazoo, Branch, Bay, Van Buren, and Cass counties are the others.) Judge Donald Allen moderated the discussion as Judge Lisa McCormick and her team (Morgan Cole, Mary Ferranti) provided a lot of information to our attendees. This information included explaining:
What is family court?
Is it a structured program like mental health or sobriety/drug court? If so, how long does it last, or how long/often are the clients provided services?
Who/what are the entities that provide the services?
How does one access family court? How are referrals done and does one have to be “in the system” or in trouble to access this court?
What constitutes “success” in the eyes of this court?
In relation to SUD, and all the family problems SUD causes, how do you see your specialty court interacting with families that are struggling with a loved one who suffers from addiction or alcoholism ?
This month’s forum featured a presentation on mental health services offered within our
community. Lead probation officer for the 55th district mental health court and FAN board member Jesse Besonen presented and answered questions on the many facets of this specialty court--what it is, how to access and navigate, etc. Jason Gilliam also provided the same information for the many offerings provided through CMH.
This month's forum did not feature a guest speaker. The forum was our summer fellowship cookout. FAN provided the burgers and dogs and fixings, while our attendees provided a dish to pass. Having no speaker/topic this month allowed more robust and interactive introductions and conversation, which proved beneficial to all in attendance.
This month’s forum featured our yearly Recovery Panel. This has always been one of our best forums and this year did not disappoint. The panel members were informative, witty, and thought provoking. Subject matter and questions discussed included:
Explain each of your situations: what you struggled with, for how long, and where are you at now?
What does a day in the life of recovery look like?
What do you do to maintain your recovery?
What in the community/professional arena helped you the most, and what (if anything) from them hindered your recovery?
What from your loved ones helped the most and hindered/harmed the most in your recovery efforts?
From your perspective, what can communities/parents/schools do better to prevent substance use disorder in the first place?
Many thanks to Josh, Jarrod, Mia, Gregg, and Aaron for serving as our panelists.
This month’s forum was part of our “Ask the Physician” series. Dr. John Baker III, psychiatrist and addiction specialist, presented on a variety of topics and took a number of questions from our audience. Subject matter and questions discussed included:
An explanation on the science of addiction and the way the brain works on and off drugs.
Thoughts on MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment): Promising trends, new medications, problematic issues with MAT.
The value of harm reduction.
The impact of trauma on the brain and SUD.
Should one be as concerned about alcohol and marijuana in their recovery as they are about the more powerful substances such as meth and heroin?
Anxiety is a huge issue in recovery--what’s new on the horizon for treating anxiety (non-benzo)?
Treatment options for those who are under 18.
This month’s forum was held in-person and provided a parents’ panel. Some of the questions asked and answered were:
How can you support your child without causing harm?
What is enabling and how can you promote trust and hope without enabling?
How/when do you include ex-spouses/step-parents/siblings in the process?
What can you actually do to help?
How/what steps do you take to help them quit and make recovery something they can believe in?
How do you navigate the system?
How do you know that they are using again and how do you address this situation without causing harm and conflict?
What did the community/professional entities do that was supportive to you and the process?
How do you deal with the stress and grief?
This month’s forum was held in-person and provided a presentation and discussion on SMART Recovery. Josh Corts, FAN board member, recovery coach, and CMH associate, was our presenter. Some of the questions asked and answered were:
What is SMART Recovery and can you explain its origin? (Who, what, when, where, and why?)
How does one access a meeting?
What is involved in becoming a facilitator for SMART Recovery?
How is SMART Recovery most different from traditional 12-step programs?
Is there a cost to access?
Are the meetings open or closed?
For more information on SMART Recovery, click HERE.
The February forum was provided in person. This month’s forum provided a presentation and discussion on two very important services that are offered/provided to individuals struggling with SUD, as well as to their families. Christian Powell from Wellness INX presented on peer recovery coaching, and Phil Pavona from FAN presented on family recovery coaching. Some of the questions asked and answered were:
What is a recovery coach?
What do they provide?
How does one become a recovery coach?
How does one access a coach?
When in the process should a client look to access a coach?
How long can a client “have” a coach?
What’s the difference between a sponsor and a coach?
The interactive discussion was well received by the attendees.
The January forum was provided in person. This month’s forum included an interactive breakout session, where we revealed our 2022 forum topics and asked the attendees to formulate questions for the presenters. This was done so that those questions could be submitted ahead of time as an aid in planning the forums. The interactive discussion was moderated by our chapter’s president, Judge Donald Allen. Dozens of questions and suggestions were provided by our attendees, and we look forward to a great 2022 forum series. The 2022 forum series agenda is available on our web page under “2022 Family Forum Schedule.”
Our December forum provided a dinner in celebration of support and recovery. In addition, we were fortunate to have Pastor Wes Emerson present on “Faith and Sobriety,” and to lead our group in a candlelight ceremony to remember those in our community lost to substance use disorder.
Our November forum featured prosecuting attorneys Carol Siemon, Nicole Matusko, and Chris Martin. This trio discussed the role they and the courts--often with and from their direction--play in providing alternatives to simple incarceration for those who suffer from SUD, as well as the role they provide in getting those who peddle poisonous drugs off the streets. It was evident to all in attendance that Ingham County is fortunate to have prosecutors who are pursuing the supportive roles of both treatment for those who suffer from SUD, and safety for the community.
Our October FAN forum was entitled "We Want to Hear from You." Every October, we take the time to ask our community and FAN forum attendees for their input and views on what our discussion topics for next year should be. Our family forum has always been about and for our attendees, and we want to take into consideration their needs and suggestions. This fits in well with our motto of "Help us help you and yours, and then come back and help someone else." Many suggestions were provided, and our board will work over the next two months putting the 2022 schedule together.
Our September forum was our annual "Recovery Panel," which featured some wonderful and successful recovery community members. This was an opportunity for all of us to learn from THE experts--those who are winning this battle. Family members of someone struggling, community treatment/interested persons, and people in/seeking recovery benefited from the wisdom and experience of our panelists. Some questions/issues discussed:
Was there a specific thing or group of things that led to your "aha moment" for attitude and life adjustment?
What did the professional community do that was most helpful to your recovery and were there things they did that hampered or roadblocked your recovery?
Same question regarding family members.
Your winning, so we want to learn from you! What do you do on a daily/weekly/monthly/whatever basis to maintain your sobriety?
The August forum was a celebratory cookout honoring those in and seeking recovery, the family and friends of those suffering from SUD, and our professionals and community members who work hard at supporting those mentioned above. Although it was a small group gathering due to vacation and school commitments (25-30 attendees), the fellowship, food, and appreciation for our FAN family was outstanding.
The July forum was our first “in-person” forum since February 2020. Our guest speaker was Dr. Cara Poland, an addiction specialist out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Poland addressed such issues/questions as:
Is there an uptick in addiction, depression, and anxiety? If so, what are the causes?
Do you use/recommend meditation/mindfulness for pain control and addiction treatment? What about food as medicine, or any other somewhat non-traditional modalities?
Best medications/treatment for anxiety and depression for an SUD client.
When one is dual diagnosed, do you treat the SUD or mental health issue first? Or both at the same time? How do you recognize and diagnosis which one is primary?
Is there a connection between ADHD meds and addiction, or any other early intervention meds?
Please explain the link between trauma and SUD.
The June forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s topic, "Parent Panel Discussion," featured parents of children with substance use disorder discussing (SUD) their ongoing efforts to address their children’s needs. The conversation was moderated by the chapter’s president Judge Donald Allen. Viewers/attendees learned how parents can recognize the problem and then protect their own wellbeing. In addition, discussion centered on how to best cope with the difficulties encountered surrounding SUD and how, with the right skill sets, parents can become recovery capital for their loved one.
The May forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s topic was "Protecting Our Most Vulnerable" and featured individuals from within law enforcement, the Health Department, the City Rescue Mission, Holy Cross Services, and Community
Mental Health. The panel discussed the ongoing efforts to address the needs of our
most at-risk population. The conversation was moderated by the chapter's president,
Judge Donald Allen. Attendees learned of the efforts and commitment of so many great
people and organizations that provide life-saving services to our fellow citizens.
The April forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s forum featured individuals from within our local jail and the Lansing Police Department. The panel discussed local substance trends within the community, the daily structure of being in jail, the proposed new jail facility, and legal ramifications for drug dealers. The conversation was moderated by the chapter's president, Judge Donald Allen. Our attendees were also afforded the opportunity to learn about the many varied services available within the Ingham County Jail.
The March forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s forum featured individuals from within the community (CMH, Health Department, Life Boat, Smart Recovery, MMRC, FAN, etc.) discussing local prevention, along with supportive and treatment services. The discussion was moderated by the chapter’s president, Judge Donald Allen. Our attendees were afforded the opportunity to learn about the many varied services available within the local Ingham County region.
Ingham County Health Dept. Resource Directory for Individuals & Families Affected by SUD
FAN's Stronger Together Web Page (Includes the 12 Steps for Family & Friends)
The February forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s forum topic was "Hope Not Handcuffs" and featured FAN Executive Director Judge Linda Davis, who spoke about this highly successful program. The discussion was moderated by the chapter’s president, Judge Donald Allen. Our viewers learned about the history, current status, and future endeavors of this nationally recognized FAN initiative. HNH was recently expanded into Ingham, Clinton, and Eaton counties, and has supported nearly 5,300 individuals into treatment since its inception.
The January forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s forum
provided an interactive breakout session where we presented our 2021 forum topics and
asked the attendees to formulate questions for the presenters, so that those questions could be submitted ahead of time as an aid in planning the session. The interactive discussion was moderated by our chapter’s president, Judge Donald Allen. Dozens of questions/suggestions were provided by our attendees and we look forward to a great 2021 forum series. The 2021 forum series agenda is available on our web page under "2021 Family Forum Schedule."
The December forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s forum topic was "A Celebration of Recovery and Remembrance." Guest speaker Pastor Wes Emerson provided words of encouragement for those struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), those in or seeking recovery, and their family and friends. Pastor Emerson also discussed his own family's struggles (a son) with heroin addiction. The session ended with a special remembrance and blessing for those within our community who have lost a loved one to SUD.
Next month’s forum will be an interactive breakout session to discuss/create the questions specifically for the presenters of the 2021 monthly forum topics.
The November forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. This month’s forum provided a chapter update and FAN board panel questions series (courts, law officers, treatment services, recovery capitol success, family services). P. Pavona provided the chapter and community update and Judge Donald Allen moderated the discussions. Some of the subject matter and questions asked by our viewers--and answered by our board panel--included:
Please explain the local services provided by CMH, the Health Department, Wellness, FAN, and other entities.
Please explain the similarities and differences between Mental Health Court and Sobriety Court.
Since SUD straddles mental health and use disorder diagnoses, which court is best for which defendant?
What services, professionals, and programs does each court offer?
What are the qualifications for being admitted into each court?
Can a defendant be moved from one court to another, if their case warrants it?
What happens if you live in an area that does not have a FAN chapter, or you are not close to one? Can you still access the offerings you spoke of earlier?
We have no FAN chapter in our area. Can you bring one to us?
Can you explain more about Family Recovery Coaching? What does it involve, how long does it last, how much does it cost, when is it offered, and how does one access it?
Next month’s forum will be a celebration of recovery and a remembrance of community members lost to addiction.
The October forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. The forum featured interactive discussion and suggestions from attendees. In that we provide our monthly family forum educational presentations for THEM (the attendees), we wanted their input on subject matter offerings. Many suggestions were provided and the Ingham board will spend the next two months preparing the 2021 offerings.
Next month’s forum will provide a chapter update and FAN board panel questions series (courts, law officers, treatment services, recovery capital success, families).
The September forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. The forum featured Dr. Aaron Dora-Laskey discussing local and regional opioid harm reduction efforts. Some of the areas/discussions which were covered are below:
What is/constitutes harm reduction?
Explain the regional and local efforts—where we are now locally and where you see us going.
Who regulates the clinics and doctors for MAT? Who sets the criteria for admission to clinics?
Can there be better info and transition planning post-release (jail, rehab, hospital), so as to limit post-discharge relapse/OD?
Next month’s forum will be an interactive breakout session to discuss/create our 2021 forum topics.
The August forum was provided virtually on Zoom and Facebook. The forum featured Sean Corbin (MA, MPA, CADC, CCJP), Program Director for Cognitive Consultants. The topic was "relapse prevention." Some of the areas/discussion covered are below:
Describe the modalities and/or perhaps the 5 best things included in a relapse prevention plan.
Describe your relapse prevention program.
How does someone not in specialty court access someone like you who offers group relapse prevention?
What are some "red lights" in identifying possible relapse? Is there a "main component" primary driver for relapse?
What things can we look for (i.e., isolation, etc.) to possibly help us recognize that someone is in relapse mode?
If the client has commercial insurance, can they access your program? If not, what programs are in the community that they can access? Same questions regarding Medicaid.
Is family assistance with relapse prevention—both formal and informal—available/offered?
Next month’s forum will also be provided virtually and will feature Dr. Aaron Dora-Laskey on “Updating the Local and Regional Opioid Harm Reduction Efforts.”
The August forum was presented virtually on Zoom and Facebook. The forum topic was "Peer Recovery Coaches: The Most Important Tool in the Recovery Tool Box." Judge Donald Allen moderated the session with Peer Recovery Coaches provided by our partners at Wellness INX. Some of the subject matter/questions included:
Explain recovery coaching and why you feel it is one of the best tools available in the recovery tool box.
What is the difference between a recovery coach and a sponsor?
Do you have to be in recovery to be a recovery coach? If so, for how long?
How can people be trained for peer recovery coaching?
How does one access (and continue to access long term) and pay for a recovery coach?
Will a recovery coach stick with you even if you relapse?
What is the biggest pitfall in recovery coaching?
Have there been any long-term effects due to no anonymity?
Special thanks to Dr. D. Smith, C. Powell, K. Powell and S. Finnerty
The June forum was presented virtually on Zoom and Facebook Live. The forum consisted of a sobriety panel, including six individuals in long-term, successful recovery, representing the SUD experiences covering alcohol, marijuana, pills, cocaine, opiates/heroin, and meth. Judge Donald Allen moderated the session and the subject matter/questions included the following:
What were your "a-ha" moments for real sobriety action and comittment?
What do you do daily/weekly/monthly/whatever time frame to maintain your recovery?
What do you do when cravings come on?
What were the best things that family/loved ones did that enhanced/supported your recovery? What were the things that family/loved ones did that hindered your recovery?
Same question as above, but for/about professionals.
What social supports are important for family members to be able to better support you?
When you started to get your life back on track, how did you address--for instance, in a job interview--your "missing months/years" and/or your journey to/through recovery?
Thanks to J. Barron, M. Gray, N. Demott, P. Allen, K. Powell, and G. Dagner for their expertise and insights.
The May forum was presented virtually on Zoom and Facebook Live. The forum consisted of a FAN board questions series—predominately dealing with the courts. We were fortunate to have included on the experts panel Judge Donald Allen, Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Martin, and lead Probation Officer/Sobriety Court Pre-Trial Services Agent Jesse Besonen. The questions were generated by our forum attendees and board member P. Pavona moderated the session. Questions included:
How do the pathways of the various courts work?
Explain what the courts offer to participants in specialty courts? Please provide both positives and negatives (perceived and real) for the participants.
How does one get into specialty courts? Can you be in more than once?
Explain sentences 1 probation.
What are general transfer policies?
How does the court deal with medical marijuana when clients are in the court system?
Why aren't more judges and prosecutors trained in addiction and best practices for addiction?
How can one deal with charges that happened months ago, but still have not surfaced?Why the weeks to months in this process?
Explain the difference between use and possession charges. Why is paraphernalia also weighed in on a possession charge?
How do we make sure that information gets shared between parents, courts, treatment and medical professionals, and the client so that everyone is on the same page, pursing the same goals as a team?
What can a parent do if their child is in the criminal justice system and they know that there is information they need to know about/would be helpful for them in moving forward? What avenues can a parent take?
Prosecuting attorney: How often do you look at "charges criteria" for things like felonies (dollar amount/drug amount, etc.), and who makes/changes the criteria? Do you have discretion to increase amounts or does the legislature have to mandate that?
How do we get public defenders to look at and perhaps refer specialty courts earlier in the process, and how do we get public defenders to meet with the client way before the day of the appearance?
The session was well attended and a great amount of information was shared.
March and April 2020
Forums were cancelled due to covid rules/situation.
The February forum consisted of a presentation by Elizabeth Montemayor, CPS Section Manager, Ingham County DHHS. Specific questions that Elizabeth focused on were:
As a mandated reporter, what are my responsibilities?
What should a person in the community do if they notice something is off and or they suspect abuse?
What are the criteria for getting children out of adverse childhood circumstances?
With the new legalization of marijuana, how does that change the system with CPS?
What help/consideration does a parent get if their issue is SUD and is it (treatment/choices) different if parent does not have SUD?
Would CPS be willing to have a pre-emptive conversation with a parent/family as a means/attempt to leverage recovery without official involvement?
What is CASA and how does it work?
Explain grandparents’ rights and issues, such as what are the factors for them to be able to remain in their grandkids’ lives? If they are appropriate and supportive/loving can they have/seek rights when a custodial parent uses them as pawns against the other parent?
Are there ways to access frequently asked questions?
Ms. Montemayor’s full PowerPoint presentation can be accessed HERE.
The January family forum was a breakout session. Our attendees were provided with the 2020 forum agenda (speakers/subject matter) and were asked to create the questions that could be sent to the presenters so that these presenters could better prepare and assure that they were providing the key subject matter and answers specific to our FAN forum audience. There were representatives from the following groups:
1. Parents/spouses/friends/siblings of the person struggling with addiction
2. Those seeking/in recovery themselves
3. Those who have lost loved ones to addiction
4. Professionals/concerned citizens
The small groups created an intimacy for discussion and dozens of questions were generated and collated and the questions will be sent to the presenters for their preparation. (See our 2020 forum schedule for more information on our forum subject matter.)
Our scheduled forum would have fallen on Christmas Eve (Dec 24). The December forum was canceled. Please view the 2020 forum schedule after the first of the year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Ingham/Okemos FAN!
November 26, 2019
Our November forum consisted of a presentation—followed by question/answer--on FAN’s Hope Not Handcuffs program. Lisa Boska and Dianne Engardio provided angel training on the 25th and 26th for our community, and then Lisa provided an overview presentation for our attendees. FAN Okemos/Ingham plans on going live at the beginning of the new year.
October 22, 2019
Our October forum consisted of an attendee break out session. Each October we
ask for input from our attendees regarding setting the next year's family forum
schedule. Our forums are for our attendees, so we want their help and input as to
a future subject matter that they wish to learn about and discuss.
We broke out into 4 distinct groups:
Those seeking/struggling with and or sustained in sobriety
Family and or friends of those suffering from sobriety
Those who have lost loved ones
Many suggestions were received, and our Board will spend the next 2 months formulating the 2020 forum agenda based on the suggestions. The intent is that by Jan 1—the 2020 full year schedule will be complete and posted on our web page.
September 24, 2019
Our September forum featured Sean Corbin, MA, MPA, CADC, CCJP
Program Director & Co-Occurring Clinician, Certified ORAS and IDA Assessor &
Certified MRT and DV MRT Facilitator from Cognitive Consultants, LLC, and Linda
Melaragni CSW a local specialist dealing with youth and families. These experts
discussed Dealing with Loss (death, relationships, goals, etc.) and youth counseling for
SUD loved ones. The session was informal and included tremendous audience
participation. Linda provided the attendees with local public services contact for families
and children. (CMH access and referral 517-346-8318; Child and family Charities 517-882-
4000; Catholic Social Services 517-323-4734; and HHS Children’s Protective Services 1-
August 27, 2019
Our August family forum was fortunate to have Dr. Cara Poland MD provide an overview of
her role in treating addiction. She explained her interest in the subject of SUD, explained
the general role of brain chemistry in the occurrence and treatment of SUD, and spent a
short time discussing the Mi Society of addiction. (Cara is a past/previous president of this
organization) Cara interjected humor throughout her talk and the audience appreciated her
down to earth and casual presentation style. In addition, Cara took notes on the language
that all of us utilized during our introduction discussions—and highlighted the positive and
negative connotations expressed. A good reminder of “language matters” when we all look
to remove barriers and enhance the overall care of our clients.
July 23, 2019
Our July family forum was fortunate to have Dr. Padmani Karna MD provide an overview of
NAS (Neonatal abstinence syndrome—babies born to addicted mothers) Dr. Karna’s
What NAS is
How it presents in the infant
Overall treatment (including hospital length of stay and costs)
Prevalence and occurrence both statewide and Nationally (statistics)
Follow up and important issues for preventative measures and improved care
Dr. Karna was able to make contact with a CPS representative and a woman in recovery who
had a baby in the neonatal intensive care at this forum. Their future collaboration will allow all
to gain further insight and to improve care.
June 25, 2019
Our June forum provided our special and annual “summer family forum Cook-out.” Fan
provided the dogs, burgers, buns, and condiments (and chef extraordinaire—Joe Lowe) and
attendees brought a dish to pass. In addition, Sarah Keeney, the Health Promotion and
Prevention specialist from the Health Department provided background information on
Naloxone—and provided our attendees with training and Kits where needed/necessary.
May 28, 2019
Our May forum provided a special guest; Judge Linda Davis. Our originally planned
speaker—Dr. Poland—had unexpected back surgery and was unable to attend. We wish
her a speedy recovery and hope to re-schedule her this fall. Judge Davis was kind enough
to fill in and she provided not only a glimpse of her own personal journey, but a great
perspective of FAN---past, present, and future. It is Judge Davis’s intent to personally visit
all of the Mi chapters—and we were pleased and honored to have her visit our chapter early
in her travels.
April 23, 2019
Our April forum provided a panel discussion specific to sobriety and drug courts –and to felony expungement proceedings. The guest panel included Judge Donald Allen and lead probation officer Jesse Besonen from the 55th District Sobriety court in Mason Mi.; Judge Andrea Larkin and lead probation officer Amy Iseler from the 54B drug court in East Lansing Mi.; and attorney Charles Lawler from Clark Hill PLC. Areas of discussion included:
• What is the difference between sobriety and drug court
• How does one get/meet criteria—and how does one navigate them
• Provide some statistics both local (your courts) and national
• Tell us why you think they are so much more successful
• What is the criteria or rules for expungement of charges—and how does one go about doing this
Most Helpful was the fact that Mr. Lawler created and then provided to our audience a packet file on expungement and sentencing options. (see attached)
March 26, 2019
Our March forum provided Dr. John Baker, an addiction psychiatrist, speaking on a wide variety of topics to our audience. (Many of topics and questions were brainstormed ahead of time by our forum attendees and given to Dr. Baker to prepare and discuss) Some of the more important questions asked:
What are the factors/criteria for admissions (post OD, Mental health,)Means of safely increasing dopamine levels post-detox/rehab i.e.=dopamine supplements such as L Tyrosine, Rhodiola, Mucuna L-theanine
What are the biggest Gaps you see in the acute System and in the output/chronic system
What do you see that can be readily or easily fixed
Do you see plans for changes in licensing
Post-acute things (trauma, chest pain) if there are no available beds they keep the pt in the ED until there are—or go above their licensed census (RNIU)—they do not just discharge them and say good luck in finding a bed—why do we allow that in the acute stage of OD
February 26, 2019
Our February forum consisted of several local long-term SUD recovered
individuals—representing use disorder from heroin, meth, cocaine, prescriptions,
alcohol—all answering questions and presenting on their ability to achieve sobriety and
more importantly, maintain sobriety. Some of the more important questions asked of them:
What do you do to maintain your recovery?
What are the other pathways for you to recover besides 12 steps?
What is your biggest struggle/roadblock today?
What is the best and worst thing about your recovery?
What are the red flags of near relapse that families should look out for and how to do SUD folks try to hide them
In your opinion, what is the role of the non-SUD person (family/friend) in helping the SUD person?
What is the best way to help without enabling?
Thank you to our Panel:
Jarrod Barren, Greg Dagner, Dave Faverman, Christian and Kaitlin Powell, Alina
Branscombe, Kathy Reddington, and Pete Randels
January 22, 2019
The January family forum was a break out session. Our attendees were provided with the 2019 forum agenda (speakers/subject matter) and were asked to create the questions that could be sent to the presenters so that these presenters could better prepare and assure that they were providing the key subject matter and answers specific to our FAN forum audience. There were only 20-25 attendees due to our community experiencing a very bad ice storm. Still, there were representatives from the following groups.
1. Parents/spouses/friends/siblings of the addict
2. Those seeking/in recovery themselves
3. Those who have lost loved ones to addiction
4. Professionals/concerned citizens
The small group created an intimacy for discussion and dozens of questions were generated and collated and the questions will be sent to the presenters for their preparation. (see our “2019 forum schedule” for more information on our forum subject matter)
Our scheduled forum would have fallen on Christmas Day(Dec 25). The December forum
was canceled. Please view the 2019 forum schedule after the first of the year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Ingham/Okemos FAN!
November 27, 2018
Our November forum consisted of several local professionals discussing the current offerings within our local jail—and what is being planned with the successful passage of the recent millage. Our presenters consisted of:
Scott Wrigglesworth—Advisory Board member and Ingham County Sheriff
Darin Southworth- Advisory board member and Ingham Jail administrator
Joe Lowe—Advisory Board member and co-owner of Wellness INX
Ericanne Spence—Board member and Director Substance Abuse Services & Corrections Mental Health Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, Ingham Counties
Bill Cariano—Executive Director Forgotten Man Ministries.
Currently, the jail provides many supportive services:
mental health/SUD assessments etc.
The plans are varied, expanding and exciting when it comes to supportive services. Most importantly, 1 million dollars per year has been earmarked specifically for supportive/treatment services to the inmates. The current jail was built decades ago with the focus on incarceration. The new jail will be built with “rehabilitation of the client” as a focus and will, therefore, be a facility which can incorporate best practices (MAT, increased and varied individual and group meetings, transitional services, etc.)
October 23, 2018
Our October forum consisted of an attendee break out session. Each October we
ask for input from our attendees regarding setting the next years family forum
schedule. Our forums are for our attendees, so we want their help and input as to
a future subject matter that they wish to learn about and discuss.
We broke out into 4 distinct groups:
Those seeking/struggling with and or sustained in sobriety
Family and or friends of those suffering with sobriety
Those who have lost loved ones
Many suggestions were received, and our Board will spend the next 2 months formulating the 2019 forum
agenda based on the suggestions. Intent is that by Jan 1—the 2019 full year schedule will be complete and posted on our web page.
September 25, 2018
On September 25, 2018, we had another in a series of presentation by Dr. John
Baker M.D. Dr. Baker is a psychiatrist and addictionologist at Sparrow Hospital
in Lansing and is also an associate professor at MSU where he teaches
addiction science. Equally important, is that he is a person that has personally
been affected by the drug crisis. He lost his younger brother to drugs.
Dr. Baker began, as he has in earlier presentations, by discussing the concept of
the gateway to substance use disorders (SUD). His tack was to not
discuss substances which are subject to debate as to their role, but to look at
underlying causation. He believes that conditions like anxiety, trauma and
depression is more likely complicit in a person developing a SUD. He explained
that these processes and biologic markers help to explain what occurs when a
person develops a SUD.
For the remainder of his time, Dr. Baker fielded questions from our audience.
The topics ranged from pharmacological intervention methods, access issues,
Kratom, developing treatment avenues and an overall reminder that what works
doesn’t necessarily need to be fixed. (success is gauged in a client’s ability to be
self-reliant, happy, healthy and productive)
August 28, 2018
The August family forum provided an overview of our local Emergency Room intervention pilot
program. (Project Assert = Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services Education, Referral to
Treatment) This program provides specially trained recovery coaches staffing the local
ED’s—specifically intervening with pts admitted with SUD issues. Prioritization occurred with
overdose pts and opiate related occurrences. We were fortunate to have Lori Noyer (Ingham
Health Plan) and Dr. Deb Smith (Wellness INX) present on this subject. Special Kudos to the
staff of the Ingham Health Plan and Wellness INX organizations for their support and passion.
For the full power point slide show—click HERE
July 24, 2018
The July family forum featured a summer barbecue cook-out for all attendees. In addition, board member and founder Phil Pavona provided a presentation called “that was then, this was now—a critical look back. The Okemos chapter is now 5 years old, and Phil compared the experiences and services their family encountered from day 1 when they discovered their Son Eric’s SUD and were trying to help him--to the current offerings and supportive services that one encounters and can access today. See document for presentation.
June 26, 2018
The June family forum featured Malia Bullock, A certified Prevention Specialist and Coordinator of the Ingham Substance Awareness and Prevention Coalition speaking on the who, what, where, and why of the ACE/Trauma program. Much of what we recognize as substance abuse today has its origination in Adverse Childhood experiences and or trauma. Malia provided a general background utilizing many examples common to clients. See attached links for full slide show presentation.
2018 June FAN Trauma presentation
May 22, 2018
The May family forum featured Ken Stecker from the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. Ken is a well known and respected expert on Marijuana. Ken provided an unbiased overview of the Mi. Medical Marihuana Act, (there is no typo on marihuana—that is how it is spelled in Mi.--including on the ballots) the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, the Mi. recreational marihuana ballot proposal, and how the Mi. State Police are piloting an impaired driving device. In addition, Ken spent a lot of time discussing the Colorado experience, issues other states have had once marijuana was legalized, and what each person and community can do to prepare for change should the ballot proposal pass.
The audience was quite engaged and at times very surprised and shocked with some of the information shared. For the full power point presentation click on the link below.
Some important highlights
In the mid-1980’s the average THC (the hallucinogenic-get you buzzed/high component) content in marijuana seized by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration was around 3.6%,while last year it was about 10%. In Colorado, Marijuana related traffic deaths have increased 62% since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2013. The marijuana THC levels in Colorado over the last 4 years have increased 155.47% from 11% to 28%.
Teen substance abuse admission rates for marijuana have increased 66%. Youth school expulsion rates for marijuana use/ possession have increased 40%. Marketing to youth is big business—as evidenced by Sponge Bob edibles, Pot Tarts, and candy bar look a-likes named Keef Kat, Munchy Way, and Puff A Mint Patty.
Other Marketing which will make its way to Mi. should legalization occur= Star Buds, and highway signs/billboards stating such things as Weed next 3 exits, and Gas and grass.
Of great importance---FOLLOW THE MONEY. Legalized weed is a multi-Billion dollar business. Tons being poured into Mi. from outside our state-- to push passage of the ballot proposal.
April 24, 2018
The April family forum was intended to have Dr. John Baker speak on addiction and answer attendees’ questions. Attendee introductions generated a lot of discussion with cross talk and varied input. Ultimately, this limited the time for Dr. Bakers presentation—and Dr. Baker has agreed to comeback in September. Next month’s forum will provide Ken Stecker, a recognized state leader about marijuana, presenting. Regardless of the number of attendees, our board has decided that we will halt introductions to allow a minimum of 1 hour for our presenters.
March 27, 2018
Our March forum was fortunate to have Undersheriff Andy Bouck speak to all of us on the current Ingham County Jail, and their plans for the community. (new jail, supportive services, etc.) In addition, E. Spence and P. Pavona prepared answers to questions that had been generated by our attendees back in January—that had to do with services and support. Below are those questions along with the corresponding answers:
1. My son/daughter is in the ER from an overdose, we don’t know what to do?
Here in the Lansing area, we are now fortunate to have some recovery coach/case management coverage in the primary ED’s. (Wellness INX staff member) For those hours where a support person is not staffed, there is a permission form utilized for contact so that services and follow-up can occur. As was the case before supportive staff was available in the ED, Phil Pavona is willing to accept a call from the ED to begin the support/services transition at that time.
2. My son/daughter has been arrested and we don’t know how to help him? Many jails have services where individuals are available to complete an intake for SUD and or mental health issues. Services are being expanded on an ongoing basis moving forward—The Ingham jail has case managers available to provide assessments and services—Such as CATS—services are out pt. and the therapists are there 40 hours per week. Eaton just began a fairly involved and cohesive program for SUD services. (staff come on site)
Phil Pavona from FAN is available to take calls and help provide linkage for support via the courts, professional services and coordination. Phil and others can visit and meet with individuals right in the jail to help begin the process for ongoing support and transition.
3. My son/daughter is under the age of 18 and we don’t know how to find detox, rehab, therapist, doc, etc. Who do we call to help us find access—is it different with commercial vs Medicaid--??
For commercial, the individual must call the provider and find out if the individual has SUD coverage, what level of coverage and then where the insurance agency contracts with. If the individual does not have SUD coverage or just has outpatient, but needs detox, with proof of those limits, the individual can use public funding.
For Medicaid, the individual would go through the Pre-Paid Inpatient Health Plan (for Ingham care, it’s Mid State Health Network).
MSHN covers a 21 county area and person with Medicaid or NO coverage can access any treatment program i
The main number for MSHN Customer Services is:
For Clinton, Eaton and Ingham, individuals can call CMH
1-888-800-1559 or (517)346-8318
4. I have felonies on my record—who do I call to inquire and help me with employment?
Also Capital Area Michigan Works
Northwest Initiative ARRO (advocacy, Reentry, Resources, and Outreach (A.R.R.O.) aims to connect individuals who have a criminal record to quality resources in order to ensure successful community integration.
Jobs for Felons
5. I need help with writing a resume. Who can help and support me?
See Northwest Initiative ARRO
6. I need emergency housing. Who do I call to help and what are my options? I need emergency housing and have felonies are my options/contacts different?
No Place To Go
7. I need housing soon—don’t have money and or a job at this time—who do I call for help/options?
No Place To Go
8. I don’t have any insurance. Who can I call to help me gain access and acquire insurance?
If you need assistance navigating you can reach out to:
CMHA-CEI Finance Department Reimbursement Eligibility Assistant 346-8225;
MDHHS, Ingham Health Plan Pathways to Better Health: 1-866-291-8691; Care Free Medical
9. I don’t have insurance, or I am on Medicaid. I need help finding a family practice doctor, a psychiatrist, or a therapist. Who can help me gain access to these?
Medicaid is Insurance If you have Medicaid, you must go through the PHP for SUD therapist, all is pre-approved. For MH therapy with Medicaid you need to go through the local CMH ACCESS line. For a personal physician, just like commercial insurance, you can go online or call the number on the back of the card.
10. I am sick of being sick of being sick and I want help. I have no insurance or Medicaid, who do I call and or what are my options for detox and or rehab?
In Michigan, individuals without insurance can get immediate help due to all programs having access to Federal Block Grant Dollars. Just like Medicaid, these dollars are managed by the PIHP. A person without insurance can access any treatment program within the PIHP area. Program would then assist the person, once admitted in getting on Medicaid or Medicaid Expansion if desired. A person needs to call the PIHP Customer Service line or CMH ACCESS.
11. I am currently in rehab and I need help with transition—to longer term residential, to sober living, to out pt. services. Who can help access---and again—is it a different call if commercial insurance vs Medicaid? A publicly funded program is obligated to assist you in getting to the next level of care. Transferring between residential can be difficult. In a publicly funded program, if this was not happening, I would urge you to call the MSHN PIHP customer service line. For commercial, again, it should operate just like being in the hospital and staff should have a discharge/transition plan for you. Each program, both commercial and public have Quality Improvement staff and Rights staff who can assist if you feel you are not being assisted in transitions.
12. We can’t take things anymore---our kid is defiant, non-compliant—won’t seek help—and is not in the court system to be “forced” into tx---He is using drugs—has stolen from us—can we get help from the police/courts to have our kid arrested and then forced to decide= jail or tx?
The state of Michigan did add language to the Mental Health Code where individuals can be forced into treatment, just like involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital. It’s Public Act 200 of 2014. The law was not well thought out, but there is a way. Since there are NO locked SUD units in the state of MI, even with a court order, a person can still walk out of treatment. If the person was ordered, and walked out, there would be a bench warrant issued out of probate court. There is also a huge difference between an adult and kid. If the kid in question is in the eyes of the law an adult, police will respond to pressed charges. If an adolescent, I would access CMH’s Families Forward for individuals with Medicaid, or no insurance for assistance with behavioral issues. In addition, Phil Pavona is working with law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys to put a program together specific to opiate and or meth abuse where a family can work with them to provide family-initiated arrest—as early as possible—so that dire consequences (death via overdose or felony behavior/charges) can be avoided.
February 27, 2018
The February family forum featured Sean Corbin from Cognitive Consultants discussing:
Setting Boundaries: People/places/things/feelings/attitude/media/electronics/ money, etc.
Steps to prevent relapse
Coping skills development
For someone like you or your staff-- what insurance is needed
From your perspective what does IOP entail
For a more detailed synopsis—see Power Point Link.
January 23, 2018
The January family forum was a break out session. Our attendees were provided with the 2018 forum agenda (speakers/subject matter) and were asked to create the questions that could be sent to the presenters so that these presenters could better prepare and assure that they were providing the key subject matter and answers specific to our FAN forum audience. There were over 75 attendees who broke out into the 4 following groups with a FAN board member leading the discussions of each group
1. Parents/spouses/friends/siblings of the addict
2. Those seeking/in recovery themselves
3. Those who have lost loved ones to addiction
4. Professionals/concerned citizens
Dozens of questions were generated and collated and the questions will be sent to the presenters for their preparation. (see our “2018 forum schedule” for more information on our forum subject matter)
December 26, 2017
Our December forum consisted of a presentation and discussion by Father Mark Rutherford, Pastor St Mary Catholic Church Williamston Mi. Of emphasis, were the topics of Forgiveness, Hope, and the true love and presence of God the Father. (not our man made/experience image)
Father Mark provided guidance on the issue of Forgiveness—through the prism of experience and biblical tradition. Forgiveness is a choice and not a feeling. We must meet our brothers and sisters at “where they are presently” ---not necessarily where we want them to be. Often, we are hoping that our loved ones will seek forgiveness when they are not ready. (i.e.= on our time table) We must simply delight and support the fact that, God willing, they are 1 more day clean and moving forward. And this 1 more day situation might go on for weeks and months before they are prepared for and able to seek out and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness, as demonstrated by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, includes forgiveness to those who are often not deserving-and to those who are often not seeking it. Forgiveness is not something that is earned by the person(s) causing the pain and hurt. Forgiveness is not something blown off (no big deal) or discounted—the pain and hurt experienced is real and should be acknowledged and given its proper due—but to dwell on the anger and hurt—and to not forgive (often) acts like a cancer further hurting the aggrieved party. Again, forgiveness is a choice we make—not a thing or feeling that is earned. In saying the “Our Father” we ask that God demonstrate and show to us the same measure of forgiveness that we provide to others. (forgive us AS we forgive others) Are we ready to receive that measure in kind?
Father Mark also reinforced the concept that we often think of the love and mercy of God through our own experiences via our all too human fathers. He ended the session emphasizing the fact that our Heavenly Father is not bound by human frailty and he is indeed our “Papa” who is available and ready to receive us always—unconditionally.
November 28, 2017
Our November forum consisted of a presentation by Linda Vail, an advisory board member, and Directing Health Officer for the Ingham County Health Department. Linda provided key statistics for Ingham county, which included current and past drug overdose death data and Lansing local first responder Naloxone delivery trends. Ingham county is fortunate to have key, current, and ongoing statistics. To date, it looks like 2017 might be the first year dating back over the last 5 years where drug deaths will go down. However, Narcan delivery—not just dosages but separate “incidences” (clients) has increased greatly. Therefore, intuitively, even though the year is not yet complete, one can make the inference that the opiate epidemic continues to grow in Ingham county—but our expansion of services via Narcan has allowed us to save more lives. In addition, those individuals who did die exhibited an ever-increasing likelihood of having fentanyl or a fentanyl derivative in their toxicology reports—much more than years past.
Linda also provided to the audience some available state statistics.
Linda wrapped up her presentation providing an overview of proposed goals being formulated by the county’s opiate task force—a task force which includes several Okemos FAN board/advisory board members within its membership. The goals formation impact areas are:
• Prescribing Habits (Pain Management Practice Guidelines)
• Prescription Drug Monitoring (MAPS)
• Prescription Drug Disposal (Take Back Meds)
• Access to Treatment
• Medication Assisted Treatment
• Harm Reduction
• PAARI and Other approaches
• Drug Treatment Courts
• Education and Awareness
• De-stigmatize (a chronic brain disease)
October 24, 2017
Our October forum consisted of an attendee break out session. Each October we ask for input from our attendees regarding setting the next years family forum schedule. Our forums are for our attendees, so we want their help and input as to future subject matter that they wish to learn about and discuss. We broke out into 4 distinct groups—Those seeking/struggling with and or sustained in sobriety; Family and or friends of those suffering with sobriety; those who have lost loved ones; and our professional/community advocates. Many suggestions were received, and our Board will spend the next 2 months formulating the 2018 forum agenda based on the suggestions. Intent is that by Jan 1—the 2018 full year schedule will be complete and posted on our web page.
September 26, 2017
On September 26, 2017, we had another in a series of presentation by Dr. John Baker M.D.. Dr. Baker is
an addictionologist who is an associate professor at MSU where he teaches addiction science. Equally
important, is that he is a person that has personally been affected by the drug crisis. He lost his younger
brother to drugs.
Dr. Baker began his talk by discussing the concept of the gateway to substance use disorders(SUD). His
tack was to not discuss substances which are subject to debate as to their role, but to look at underlying
causation. He believes that conditions like anxiety, trauma and depression are more likely complicit in a
person developing a SUD. He explained that these processes and biologic markers help to explain what
occurs when a person develops a SUD.
He continued his presentation by discussing the role of Dopamine. Dopamine is the substance that
unleashes the pleasure sensation when a person engages in certain forms of pleasurable activities.
Drugs can bind to areas through a passive process of ingestion. He counseled that people need to learn
how to conduct themselves in a manner where they can actively produce appropriate levels of
Dopamine through things like yoga, breathing exercises or more strenuous exercise like sports, but
cautioned against extreme forms which become forms of negative behaviors where persons threaten
their well being.
Dr. Baker also spent time discussing medication assisted therapy(mat). He is in favor of mat. He stated
that Suboxone is best with persons with mild to moderate SUD. Methadone works better with persons
that are heavy long term users where the dosing is less than 100mg. In both instances, the patient must
have treatment that is appropriate for their SUD Additional questions posed and answered by Dr. Baker
SAMSA espouses that 80% of heroin addicts—using/addicted long term (for over 1 year) require
methadone supplement. Where did they get this data and or how did they arrive at this conclusion.
Similarly, studies are being written that speak of methadone for long term addicts, suboxone and vivitrol
for newer addicts-- -Your opinion.
If you could wave the magic wand, and change treatment options or offerings within communities so
that the likelihood for success could be enhanced—what would those offerings be.
The legalization marijuana will most likely be on the ballot next year-- -what are your views as a
treatment specialist, parent, citizen, and community advocate.
Please explain analogues (drugs which are chemically similar to other drugs) If the drug itself is a
controlled substance, then is not the analogue as well? If so, why available on the internet so easily and
how do we better prevent.
How can we better help/support your efforts within the community.
August 22, 2017
Our August forum consisted of an experienced “probation panel”
presenting and answering questions dealing with the local courts. Not only
were we interested in having our attendees meet and learn about each
court, but we were fostering intra-court communication and cooperation as
The courts represented were Ingham ( Lansing, East Lansing, Mason) Eaton and
Clinton. ( 55th, 54B, 54A, 56A, and 65A) Each lead probation official introduced
their court’s overall philosophy and answered attendees questions. Some of the
questions/topics covered by each were:
Please describe what sobriety court looks like
If you have the decision to put a client in jail or treatment—what makes you decide
what/which way to go?
Mental health court—how to best help people with co-occurring issues
Is there a system to get all the local courts together—to have charges/issues
handled cooperatively and allow the court who can best address the clients and
community’s needs handle the case—vs each court dealing with a variety of
charges in a way that sometimes hinders treatment and causes delays and confusion
Do our local courts ever get together and discuss strategies, cooperation, data—and
if not—could they.
We were also privileged to have several judges-- representing these area--
in attendance as well.
July 25, 2017
Our July forum consisted of an experienced “expert panel” presenting and answering questions dealing with the opiate crisis. Ms. Carol Siemon, Lead Prosecuting Attorney for Ingham county, Representative Andy Schor, 68th house district, and Ingham County Under Sherriff Andy Bouck provided the panel and Judge Donald Allen moderated the discussion.
Each panel member provided introductory remarks specific to their expertise and position.
Some of the questions generated by our audience and discussed by the panel included:
Jails and the need of congregating inmates via “like issues” to not allow serious criminals to prey on young substance abuse clients—and to allow more of a peer environment.
How can our community help to provide “humane Detox” in our jails?
Are we willing to step up and create/provide a pilot program for rehab right in a specific area/wing of the jail?
We have no Medication assistance detox in town—how can we change this.
What can we do to help with legal/legislative things to unite and support necessary treatment changes?
Changes in the “felony” laws---we need to not punish many of these folks for a life time—examples= difficulties in finding housing and employment.
The attendees (well over 100) were engaged in the discussion and appreciative to our panel.
June 27, 2017
Our June 2017 forum was our annual summer cook-out. Once a year we change gears and provide a forum of fun, food and fellowship. FAN Okemos provided the meats and buns while attendees provided a dish to pass. Following out attendee’s introductions, 3 short films/videos were viewed. The Nugget video provides an excellent visual understanding of addiction. We also previewed 2 of the FAN videos which are on the website--dealing with prescription drug usage and sports injuries. Both videos received ovations from the audience.
May 23, 2017
Our May forum consisted of an experienced “expert panel” presenting and answering
questions dealing with real life situations (job market, housing, on-going needs, etc.) often
experienced by our “in recovery attendees.” We were privileged to have members from
Wellness INX. Presenting.
The Wellness team’s mission/vision:
To Identify, Strategize, & Change
Changing lives together on the road to Recovery
Mr. Joseph Lowe moderated and Panel Members included:
Dr. Deborah Smith, PhD, MDIV, LPC, CADC
Co- Founder – Wellness Inx , Clinical Director,
Teresa Stokes, Jurist Doctorate
Wellness InX, Case Manager & Supervisor
Alina Branscombe, CADC, (soon to be LPC )
Wellness InX , Case Manager, Woman’s Specialist.
Their discussion focused/centered around the 8 life elements
1. Stable Recovery
2. Achieve good or improved Health
3. Become Financially Solvent
4. Achieve desired or stable Housing
5. Achieve good or improve Mental Health
6. Achieve supportive & improved Relationships
7. Achieve freedom from CJ & Family Court oversite
8. Develop Spiritual Fitness
The discussion was interactive with many questions from our audience.
On April 25, 2017
We were privileged to have another presentation by Dr. John Baker at our family forum. He spoke about the nature of substance use disorders as it relates to family presentation. He explained how addiction is a brain disease and how it will look to family members. Dr. Baker provided an in-depth discussion on endogenous (normal brain chemical formation) vs exogenous factors (external drug ingestion) on brain chemistry, in particular dopamine pathways.
One of the key elements is that the user will experience a very intense form of intoxication because of the flood of dopamine released by use of opiate narcotics. This results in the user attempting to replicate or "chase the dragon". The user is not only unable to replicate the high, but will also develop tolerance/addiction in attempting to do so.
Once the brain disease develops it can take up until 18 months for the person's brain to recover. In the interim, exposure to any psychoactive substance (including alcohol) places the user at risk of being addicted to the new substance and potentially relapsing onto opiates. The person experiences a high level of joylessness because of the inability of the body to produce sufficient levels of dopamine and requires the person to look to other means of pleasure (e.g. exercise or yoga). Such replacement therapies must be coupled with professional interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy or other professionally recommended treatments suitable for that individual.
March 28, 2017
The March family forum provided a discussion and presentation on Cognitive Brain Therapy, the therapist/client working relationship, and non-traditional forms of supportive therapy. Our Chapter was pleased and grateful to have Ashita Ghelani M.A., the Assistant Director at Mid Michigan Recovery Services provide this presentation.
Ashita went over the Cognitive Recovery triangle (thoughts, Emotions/feelings, Behavior) and how the 3 interact and influence the others. The audience in attendance—well over 100, included those in varied stages of recovery, their friends and family, and many from the professional treatment community. Ashita fielded several questions from these 3 groups—often originating from a different perspective. See presentation here
February 28, 2017
On March 1st, our chapter presented a family forum designed to present the perspective of individuals in recovery. The panel was composed of five individuals that had different drugs of choice and traveled different routes to their recovery.
We had a tremendous turnout for this event which included citizens from throughout the community. The panel fielded questions that were submitted in advance of the town hall. The panelist gave great care in answering the questions and the nature of the responses demonstrated the complexity of the problem. Some brief takeaways are that there is a thin line between being supportive of a struggling loved one and enabling that person(helping them to avoid the natural consequences of their behavior). Another point was to ensure that folks understood that addiction is a lifelong condition that requires that persons continue to do the same things that got them sober to continue their recovery. This approach means no mind altering substances including alcohol.
January 24, 2017
The January family forum was a break out session. Our attendees were provided with the 2017 forum agenda (speakers/subject matter) and were asked to create the questions that could be sent to the presenters so that these presenters could better prepare and assure that they were providing the key subject matter and answers specific to our FAN forum audience. There were over 100 attendees who broke out into the 4 following groups with a FAN board member leading the discussions of each group
Parents/spouses/friends/siblings of the addict
Those seeking/in recovery themselves
Those who have lost loved ones to addiction
Dozens of questions were generated and collated and the questions will be sent to the presenters for their preparation. (see our “2017 forum schedule” for more information on our forum subject matter)
December 27, 2016
Our December Family Forum included a dinner, inspirational messages from
Father Mark Rutherford, and a candle light Vigil for our families who have lost
loved ones. Father Mark’s message was one of “our Heavenly Father’s Love,”
hope, redemption, never giving up, and community support. He stressed the
idea/fact that true happiness can only occur through an intimate and personal
relationship with our eternal Father who knows all and can provide all.
Twelve families submitted pictures for overhead viewing while they then
introduced us to their favorite memories of their loved ones—and explained why
they choose the pictures they submitted. Amanda Lick, who co-leads our
“grief/those who have lost loved one’s” group summed up 2 very important
points. They (the 12 families) were so appreciative, not only for the support the
families are able to provide for each other—but of the whole FAN family forum
attendees-- -recognized that very night when over 100 people were in attendance
Additionally, she stressed that their group is a sorority/fraternity that
they want no more members to join but if there should be
November 22, 2016
Our chapter was privileged to have Melissa Cerqueila, Manager of Allegiance Health
Substance Use Disorder Program in Jackson Mi. and Ericanne Spence, Director Substance
Abuse Services and Corrections Mental Health CEICMH as our presenters. Our audience
was interested in hearing about their programs detox and rehab experience—and
essentially what is to be expected upon admission and what is required for admission.
The Jackson Allegiance Center
Affiliated with the Henry Ford Health System and is considered a both an out pt. and residential rehab program.
2424 W Washington Ave Ste 200
Jackson, MI 49203
Phone: (517) 205-4001
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The Allegiance Addiction Recovery Center
A substance abuse treatment center helping adults addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Services range from chronic to acute
detoxification to residential and intensive outpatient programs. The program is designed
specifically for those also suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders.
The Lansing Recovery Center
A detox center which when necessary and appropriate, will assist with a professional transfer to residential treatment centers and sober living units in both the Lansing area and within the Center’s 21 county region.
The Recovery Center is located at
810 W. Saginaw Street
Lansing, MI 48915
Toll Free: 855/TRC-DTOX;
Cell: 517/599-1839 (overnight & amp; weekends)
Fax: 517/853-2878 ;
10 bed medically managed detoxification unit, licensed under the State of MI rules for Residential Treatment
TRC is NOT inpatient (that means attached or in a hospital setting)
TRC has supervising physicians and RNs. Clinical staffing includes Master’s and Bachelor’s level employees.
TRC can only take individuals who are Medicaid, Healthy MI or have no insurance or no SUD coverage on their insurance. We do not bill Medicare
(Medicare does not pay for TRC level of care). We can use our indigent funding for some individuals with Medicare – case by cases basis. We do accept self pay
TRC takes emergent (no appointment) admissions 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
October 25, 2016
This month's forum was a break-out session where our attendees separated out into 4 different groups: Those seeking/in recovery; family and friends of those struggling with addiction; our professional and community attendees; and those who have lost a loved one to addiction/overdose.
Our attendees in these 4 groups were asked to provide us with the subject matter for our 2017 forums. We are there for them and we want to know what subject matter they want more info on—and then we will go out into the community and find an expert to present to them on that subject. One of our board members represented each of these groups—and lead the discussion and took notes.
From this input, our chapter will, over the next 2 months, create the 2017 schedule.
September 27, 2016
Our chapter was privileged to have Judge Thomas Boyd, Jesse Besonen, Joe Lowe, Ericanne Spence and Sam Davis discuss our local court and legal systems. (sobriety court, resources available in ICJ, typical fines, testing arrangements, probation requirements, etc.)
Judge Boyd discussed the development of sobriety courts and subsequent expansion to include drug court, State law sentencing mandates for possession and use of narcotics, and possible options available for plea down to inpatient, IOP, fines, probation, etc.
Sam Davis discussed changes in the ICJ "time" on inmate release policy. No longer are inmates released in the dead of night and an emergency clothing pantry has been set up in the jail for those inmates who are lacking proper clothing.
Ericanne Spence discussed the C.A.T.S. inmate transition program for the long term ICJ inmates.
Joe Lowe spoke briefly on the development of the unfunded volunteer Recovery Coach, Case Management, Assessment & Diagnosis and MRT programs provided by Wellness INX to the ICJ. I acknowledged Judge Lawless, Jail Administrator, Sam Davis, and Sheriff Wigglesworth for allowing many, many, professionals access to the jail. I noted the fact that NO other jail in Mid Michigan has such a liberal policy.
Jesse Besonen covered sobriety court and attached are the program description and phases of our local sobriety court.
August 23, 2016
Our chapter was privileged to have Chief John Stressman from the Mason Police Dept., and Amy Moore from the Ingham County Health Dep. provide an up-date on the history, goals, accomplishments and future endeavors of the Mason Capitol Area Prescription Drug Task Force.
Our chapter continues to partner with this task force; in fact, our President, VP and Secretary are current active participants on the task force. Chief Stressman was very complimentary of our FAN chapter and discussed how our chapter has not only accomplished great things within our community, but how we have directly and personally impacted his views---and that we continue to impact their taskforce's views.
The task force has:
Implemented county wide medicine disposal drop offs
Worked with their local High school implementing preventive strategies
Procured a grant gift of over $19,000 from "100 women who care" –through which they purchased Narcan for not only their own police force, but distributed to local police agencies throughout the county/ region.
Amy Moore, in tandem with FAN, has provided several Narcan training sessions –free of charge and thus dozens of families have Narcan in the home.
A contest was undertaken with the local high school students to engage them and their peers in education and preventative strategies. The task force provided and awarded great gifts/prizes for those students who's projects were chosen. (public service announcement, poster presentation, webpage, etc.)
The task force continues to network with local pharmacies on informational strategies.
All in all, their task force and members are passionate in addressing the prescription drug crisis and they have proven to be great allies with our FAN chapter. We look forward to working and networking with them in the future.
July 26, 2016
Our chapter was privileged to have Christine Humphrey MA, LLPC, CADC (a local drug and alcohol counselor from PAR Rehab Services), as our presenter. Christine is not only a well-known and respected professional within our community, but is a person in recovery herself. Christine answered a few questions submitted to her prior to our forum and fielded questions during her presentation. Many of the questions—and much of the presentation, had to do with family enabling tendencies, family support, and the importance of Cognitive Therapy as a tool for recovery. Christine touched on the importance of peer recovery and how the community and their practice are enhancing supportive services through such entities as relapse prevention groups. Christine provided many documents and sources geared at education and support.
The following links and reading materials were provided by Christine and are available below for access/utilization.
Passages Through Recovery - www.ehcounseling.com/materials/
(Notes by: Lance Echo-Hawk,MA)
The Disease of Chemical Dependency - Intervention (How to Help Someone who doesn't want help) by Vernon E. Johnson
Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) - www.mentalhelp.net (Disorders & Issues > Addiction Treatment)
6 Things you should say during an intervention - www.interventionsupport.com; supported by Foundations Recovery Network
50 positive Recovery Quotes in Honor of Recovery Month - by Cathy Taughinbaugh; Helping Parents find peace cathytaughinbaugh.com - search Recovery Quotes
50 Affirmation Points for a person in Recovery - www.voiceinrecovery.com Self-Love(01/27/2011)
June 28, 2016
The June Family forum was a fellowship gathering cook-out. This was an opportunity for our families to further reach out among themselves and in many cases re-connect and network with each other.
Our chapter provided the burgers and dogs—and our family attendees brought a dish to pass. There was certainly plenty of great food and great fellowship. In addition, the subject matter of local angels for what may very well be a future local PAARI program was discussed with attendees. At first pass, 14 individuals signed up for future involvement.
May 24, 2016
On May 24th, we were scheduled to have Christine Humphrey from Par Rehab Services present to our attendees. Due to a loved one's medical emergency, Christine was forced to cancel so Phil Pavona and Judge Allen presented an up-date on what is currently being done by our local/state FAN-- with presentations. This was originally slated for our July presentation, ergo, Christine will now present in July)
Judge Allen spoke of the big picture facing our communities as we wrestle with the growing problem of substance abuse and addiction. We can no longer accept the idea of "not my car, not my house, not my kid, not my problem!"
Phil provided an overview of a typical FAN presentation provided to schools, parents, civic groups, law enforcement, prescribes/medical professionals and others. Overheads were utilized which reinforce the idea that our loved ones struggling with addiction are indeed our brothers, sisters, parents, wives, husbands, sons and daughters. The slides utilized depicted FAN Families—real people—not just statistics or theoretical persons—intended to reinforce in a heartfelt way—the eradication of the stigma associated with addiction.
Important Talking Points were provided for each "group audience" listed above and relevant statistics were provided to enhance the clarity of the crisis our communities face. Of importance was the idea of preventative measures to begin with. A short synopsis (created/titled by Phil) called "The Perfect Storm" highlighted how we got to the mess we find ourselves in now. Included were the Middle East, Mexican Cartels, Boarder Chaos, Marijuana, this generation, big Pharma, Dr. Portenoy, JCAOH and medical boards, and our American Culture---all interacting together to create the perfect storm for enhanced addiction.
All in all, the audience left with a stronger impression of what we face and how FAN is working hard to educate and provide support.
April 26, 2016
On April 26th, we were honored to have several health care leaders join us at our monthly forum. There was a robust discussion led by Judge Allen and the following panel of experts:
1. Laura Appel-Senior VP, Strategic Initiatives, Michigan Health and Hospital Association
2. Thomas Simmer MD. Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
3. Peter Graham MD. Chief Medical Officer Physician's Health Plans of Michigan
4. Nick D'lsa Compliance Officer PHP, and
5. Linda Peterson MD , Chief Medical Officer, McLaren Health
The panelists agreed that the system of care is broken and they cited a number of issues that cause the problems. As physicians, they made the point that the medical profession has a degree of culpability in this crisis. People that are in charge of making decisions are largely making decisions in a vacuum. They want and need to hear from people that are impacted by the system of care. Systemically, the division between mental health and substance treatment should be discarded. Parity between the systems doesn't exist. There is also a glaring shortage of practitioners and courses to educate the next generation of psychiatrists.
The insurer side of the equation is also struggling since plan benefits are limited by choices made during contract negotiations. Negotiated benefits often do not reflect the care necessary to resolve issues. Additionally, concepts like medical necessity can impede access to care.
Although claims have shown that there has been a somewhat drastic decline in opiate utilization, the unknown (fear) is that the lower utilization might be a factor of actually having driven these patients to the streets for illegal usage.
The panel ran over the allotted time and participants indicated that it was time well spent and that a desire exist to continue the dialogue.
To reiterate, a key item to take away from the discussions is that the benefit choices allocated to the plans are directly related to what their client (employer organizations, unions, etc.) are asking for within the plans. The design of most plans occurs from the large employers. Mental health and substance abuse benefits are often a "carve out" entity to outside vendors which drastically limits local decisions/care. In addition, the United States can solve the resource gap within substance abuse and mental health issues—we simply need to assign it a proper priority. The panel felt that this is where our stories and our passion can and will play an important role. Our politicians need to hear from us. (Relentlessly)
March 22, 2016
On March 22nd, we were honored to once again to have Dr. John Baker as our presenter.
Good medication assisted therapy is available.
Sparrow I.O.P. is still open, but could not find doc to keep open the detox unit.
Docs are still meeting with hospital to nudge them in the right direction.
If you are on methadone you have to be off for at least two weeks before going on naltrexone.
Higher doses of methadone such as 130 mg is too high. 60-90 mg is considered the sweet spot. Taper from methadone after 1-3 years. Could be longer for persons suffering from chronic pain.
Shortage of medical professionals causes clinics to take new patients once every two months. Cross over for treatment is available in other areas, but there are transportation issues.
Surgeons typically follow a protocol that include opioids even when the patients would prefer a nonnarcotic. Patients need to openly declare their addiction and meet with the anesthesiologist.
Opiate addicts are frequently very good at lying—family/support persons are helpful in information intake.
A scenario was presented for transition from methadone—to sub Oxone—to eventual naltrexone/Vivitrol.
Dr. Baker's advice was not intended to replace physician involvement with the client and he stressed that these were rough guidelines which would still require individualization for each patient. And, he stated that he is willing to work with/discuss options with local practitioners to provide transition for clients. Clients should transition to Subutex—not sub Oxone from methadone. Bi-weekly to monthly transition—20 methadone/4 mg Subutex—then 15 methadone/4mg subutex twice daily—then 10 Methadone/8mg subutex in am—4mg in pm. At zero methadone/5mg twice daily. To eventually wean off of sub Oxone/subutex= every 2-4 weeks—8mg and 4 mg daily to 4mg and 4mg daily—to 4 mg once daily to 2mg once daily—to zero.
Naltrexone/vivitrol usage requires no opiates in system for about 2 weeks. The pill form of naltrexone is much cheaper than the one per month shot of vivitrol.
February 23, 2016
Our chapter was privileged to have as guest speaker, Detective Robyn Lynde from the Michigan State Police. Below is a synopsis of some of the discussion between Robyn and our audience.
Robyn was asked to explain some of the new initiatives being undertaken by law enforcement to help combat this opiate epidemic. Of particular importance was the fact that her undercover narcotics position has shifted to one of emphasis dealing with prescribers practices (miss prescribing, over prescribing, etc.) She explained that each county prosecutes "the war on drugs" differently.
The issue of providing info (names/numbers of drug dealers) to police came up. Most families wanted to know the best/safe way to provide this and they relayed that they were frustrated with the fact that no one seemed to get back with them for any follow-up update. She explained that most departments will do everything within their power to protect the informant and will not use their names unless there is an agreement prior to their cooperation. As for up-dates and someone getting back with them, her advice was to be somewhat relentless in continuing to make the calls and contact the police for updates. (the squeaky wheel will get the grease)
Questions from the attendees:
Our audience wanted to know if our local drug homicides were turf wars or personal vendettas.
She inquired with several local law enforcement agencies and all agreed—vendettas
Can we stop the proliferation of drugs into our smaller communities?
There will always be drugs available providing there is a demand. Having said that you can reduce the influx with community involvement/watch—in cooperation with the police department and narcotic teams. Prevention and lower demand is the key.
Does law enforcement know who the "big players" are?
Yes they know who the majority of large targets that are trafficking in narcotics.
Medical marijuana laws seem problematic---what problems ae we experiencing from this and has the age of users lowered following these laws? (ie more minors in possession)
Robyn believes that the laws were written purposely in a way that would make them difficult to enforce. Some prosecutors enforce the laws to the best of their abilities while others believe it's the will of the people so they do very little to prosecute. Robyn explained that locally there have been armed robberies, homicides, and other criminal violations related to the medical marijuana law. Although she did not have statistics for Michigan, statistics from Colorado show that there are younger people using marijuana there prior to the passing of the medicinal and recreational laws.
January 26, 2016
The January family forum was a break out session. Our attendees were provided with the 2016 forum agenda (speakers/subject matter) and were asked to create the questions that could be sent to the presenters so that these presenters could better prepare and assure that they were providing the key subject matter and answers the audience was seeking. Our nearly 100 attendees broke out into the 4 following groups with a FAN board member leading the discussions of each group
Parents/spouses/friends/siblings of the addict
Those seeking/in recovery themselves
Those who have lost loved ones to addiction
Dozens of questions were generated and collated and the questions will be sent to the presenters for their preparation.