WHAT WE DO
An integral part of FAN's mission is to remove the stigma associated with addiction through education and to inform the community of the growing problem of substance dependency or addiction among all ages, and the increasing use of heroin by our young people.
Over the past few years, we have presented our Real People Sharing Real Stories to thousands of students in over three dozen school districts, spoke at over 50 conferences, and traveled to more than 30 communities, from Grosse Ile to Petoskey, to share our stories. Our unique presentation style includes parents affected by addiction, parents who have lost loved ones, and young people in recovery.
FAN also provides education through professional and guest speakers, as well as the sharing of personal stories. FAN creates a support network for those affected by addiction so no family or individual need suffer alone.
A small church in Fraser, Christ United Methodist Church, opened its heart and doors to us. Close to 100 people filled the basement that first night, including grieving families, law enforcement, religious leaders, concerned citizens and several young people working on their own recovery programs. All were angry. All had questions. How is this happening in our community? Why are these good kids from good families using heroin? How do we stop it? Many good questions, few good answers.
But even in the despair, some offered hope. A couple of the young people in the room, who were struggling with addiction, stood up and said, "Let us talk to the students. Maybe, just maybe, they'll listen to us." And with that hope, our fledgling organization sprouted wings and took to the community. Within a month, FAN was speaking to every student in Fraser High School. Young people in recovery, parents who lost loved ones, real people sharing real stories. And we haven't stopped sharing our stories since.
Months later, as the stories behind the overdoses began to unfold, we learned that most of these young people started with prescription painkillers--Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet. All opiate-based medications, just like heroin.
Over the past few years, we have heard hundreds of stories like these, in communities across the state. Good kids from good families, all with hopes and dreams. Some continue their daily fight to stay clean, while others have yet to find the strength. Sadly, too many have lost the battle.