In 2012, the Community Coalition on Opiate and Heroin Awareness was established to increase awareness of the opiate and heroin use in the community. It became apparent that there was a lack of community connections and available resources for families seeking out information and support. Early in 2014, the co-founders connected through both having lost a child to opiate overdose. The Community Coalition on Opiate and Heroin Awareness became the advisory board for the FAN Southwest Michigan chapter. This coalition was active in helping to get the Narcan bill passed in 2014. The Southwest Michigan chapter covers the following seven counties: Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, and St. Joseph. Currently, community meetings are held in Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties, and other county community meetings will be added as the need arises. The Southwest Michigan chapter became established in 2014.
This video, "Feeling Normal," was produced by Kalamazoo Drug Task Force.
1st Thursday of each month
Community Outreach and Prevention Network
2705 Virginia Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49004
3rd Thursday of each month
St. Joseph, MI 49085
All are welcome to attend.
(Children 10 and older please.)
As a physician, Chuck spent his days taking care of patients and listening to problems. There was one patient, however, that he could not help: himself. Inadvertent exposure to narcotics seemed to help an emotional disease that Chuck had. With easy access to opioids, Chuck found himself facing a substance use disorder. After many losses and a 15-year struggle with addiction, Chuck found recovery. His experience with substance use disorder and the court system led him to his career. He now works to help those who struggle with substance use disorder as a case manager in the drug treatment court in Battle Creek. Chuck has been an active member of FAN SWMI since 2015,and has also serves as the chapter's vice president.
As a Certified Peer Support Specialist, Amber spends her days working with folks who struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues. She links them with services and resources in Kalamazoo County and helps them work toward their goals to thrive in life. Amber had her own struggles with mental health and addiction, and that helps her have the insight to help others in a way clinical staff cannot. She now works for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services on the Whole Health Initiative team, focusing on balancing mental health, addiction issues, and physical health needs. Amber has been an active member of FAN SWMI since 2018.
One of the co-founders for the Southwest Michigan FAN chapter, Nancy's passion for prevention education goes back over 30 years. The last three years, Nancy has focused on increasing awareness of prescription drug and heroin use in the community. Tragically, this focus was the result of losing her 21-year-old daughter to a heroin overdose. Nancy started the Community Coalition on Opiate and Heroin Awareness and has a master's degree in marriage and family services. She is also a Certified Family Life Educator and recently became a Certified Professional, Life and Recovery Coach. Nancy hopes to help break the stigma associated with opiate drug dependency, opening doors for recovery for families and those seeking recovery.
Amy, a registered nurse, feels that her journey over the past six years has taught her to be a better, stronger, and more compassionate nurse and person. Her journey into addiction started when her son, at age 16, became addicted to heroin. Her passion to help others came out of her frustration to find help for her son. She believes that by telling her story, providing education, and raising community awareness, she can help to bring about change for those who are suffering with addiction. Addiction is a family disease and FAN provides a place for those who are in or seeking recovery, and their families, to receive the support and help needed. Being a part of FAN has given Amy a way of giving back to those who have helped her, and to give support to those who are currently on this journey. Her goal is to help stop the stigma of addiction, provide support so no family feels alone, and to work with the community to help fight against addiction.