Families impacted by substance use disorder in Mecosta and Osceola counties are getting some extra help.
Families Against Narcotics (FAN) held an event on the campus of Ferris State University Wednesday to announce their expansion. Many people were in attendance to welcome them into their community.
According to the CDC, there were over 107,000 overdose deaths last year. That’s a nearly 15% increase from 2020. Chapter Outreach Regional Manager with Families Against Narcotics,Ryan Reblin says anytime they see increases like they have the past couple of years it gives them more motivation to expand.
“Here at Ferris State and Mecosta and Osceola community they have really reached out and said, ‘you know what, we need help,'” Reblin explains. “With us at Families Against Narcotics we’re trying to get resources out to more people and get the awareness out to more people. So that way in case of an emergency we will be able to help.”
This is the 22nd chapter they have opened in Michigan. They’ll work with families by educating and providing resources to get them the help they need. Their program Hope Not Handcuffs will work closely with the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety and other departments across Mecosta and Osceola counties.
Hope Not Handcuffs has helped over 8,300 people and is in over 120 police departments across Michigan. The Regional Coordinator for Hope Not Handcuffs, Jestine Garcia, says their program shows people struggling with addiction how to get help, rather than the inside of a jail cell.
“They are able to walk into anyone of our police departments in Michigan and ask for help. They are greeted by compassion, support and respect. And at that time, the are also greeted with a trained FAN angel that volunteers their time. Comes into the police departments and helps service them to get into a treatment center,” Garcia expounds.
They say they’re happy to expand and hope it helps local families dealing with substance use disorder.
“I am hoping it does have a big impact on people’s lives and families and just helps everyone know that there is help out there for you,” Garcia states.
The new chapter will be holding family forums the first Monday of every month at Liberty Baptist Church in Reed City at 6 p.m.