by Jonathan Weaver
Support groups, medication and faith-based activities all can help those addicted to drugs and alcohol, but a community often focuses on an addict’s criminal behavior rather than the compulsive acts.
At yesterday’s Armstrong Drug Free Communities Coalition meeting, Certified Recovery Specialist Supervisor Mike Krafick explained the science of how drugs change an addict’s brain chemistry – especially those under the age of 25 – and pinpointed public perception.
Krafick – who himself has been in drug recovery for about nine years – told the about 50 community residents at the meeting (held in the Belmont Complex in West Kittanning Borough) that alcohol and drug abuse are preventable behaviors, but some communities need to push past that stigma.
“When you think about mutual aid groups – like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous – , the fact that it’s anonymous has kind-of held back the public perception of people getting well and people recovering,” Krafick said. “People don’t often know if they are in long-term recovery unless they speak out about it. By speaking out about it and sharing our stories of recovery, we are able to change that stigma that goes with addiction.”
“Alcohol and drug addiction is a disease people can recover from. Recovery’s a reality and happens every day.”
The American Medical Association first diagnosed alcoholism and addiction a disease in 1956.
“But, I don’t know if we as a society, as a culture, fully buy into that,” Krafick said.
Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission Project Coordinator and Prevention Specialist Jennifer McCrosky has heard Krafick’s presentation before. She hopes his story is another positive example that can educate local residents and someone they can look up to.
“Mike is a very dedicated, passionate speaker. We think he does a fantastic job sharing his story – showing that recovery is possible and the struggles he has gone through,” McCrosky said.
There are also between 82 and 95 opioid prescription pain killers in the state.
Pastor Mike Bobbitt, of Cornerstone Assembly of God in East Franklin Township, has attended the past two coalition meetings. He has been approached by his congregation about drug and alcohol addicted behaviors, but has an idea how to help.
“I believe education, along with our faith, is what we need. I believe faith and education together will be effective,” Pastor Bobbitt said.
Members will next meet at 10AM Thurs., March 9. All from the community are welcome.