I am proud to recognize our Jefferson Odd Fellow Lodge #38 as one of the participating agencies that attended the Ashe Substance Misuse Coalition Strategic Planning Session this past Thursday and Friday. Ashe Memorial Hospital coordinated a most productive planning session with many key members of our community. Attendees ranged from health care specialists, social workers, therapists, treatment centers, mental healthcare workers, peer specialists, medics, the list continues. Jefferson Landing facilitated and gave the community a space to meet and strategically discuss issues, so that we can better serve and treat members of our community touched by this crisis. It is few and far between, families in Ashe that have not been affected in some capacity by substance misuse/abuse. Anyone who has been, knows the fear, pain, stigma, panic, chaos and hopelessness that accompanies addiction. It quite literally is a drowning in distress.
The picture below is titled “The Agony of Addiction”.
This is precisely why our lodge was honored to attend. Our business is in the relieving of distress! We understand the importance of linking into the community to better serve our community and aid in creating solutions with professionals who deal with substance abuse, mental health, medical and family emergencies on a daily basis. Gaining the knowledge, making these links and being a part of the solution is crucial to our lodge, because it is important to us as Odd Fellows to stay appropriately informed and educated on the issue of addiction and its connection to trauma.
You cannot be in the business of relief and harm reduction and not witness the widespread destruction and devastation that substance abuse has harshly dealt to our community. Families are suffering. Children are suffering. Mothers, fathers, grandparents. This crisis has a firm grip on our county. Ashe has many additional barriers to getting proper treatment to these families. In particular, issues relating to transportation, Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), community education regarding stigma, and access to treatment and naloxone kits. Our Lodge gratefully gained valuable contacts and pertinent information because of this strategic planning session. We aided in the brainstorming on the topics of prevention, treatment and recovery, and were informed on risk factors impacting the opioid crisis in our community.
“Combating the opioid epidemic requires communities to adopt new strategies and new partnerships. Fully understanding drivers of opioid misuse, addiction and overdose requires coalitions to engage the entire community.”– JBS International
We as Odd Fellows are enthusiastic about the ways in which we can participate. Understanding this crisis, is key to being a functional cog in the wheel of healing for Ashe. This crisis is the root cause to an immense amount of suffering, and we are eager as Odd Fellows to be a part of better understanding and creating of solutions. We look forward to being more informed on this topic and to being more prepared; so that we can better help those in our community that are suffering from the immense and complicated plight that addiction is.
In Friendship, Love and Truth,
Sister Blythe Hilliard