1st-of-its-kind center for addicts, families opens in Springfield

Michael Lemmings a recovering addict and Families of Addicts member painted a mural for the groups new home on High Street. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

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Michael Lemmings a recovering addict and Families of Addicts member painted a mural for the groups new home on High Street. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

A first-of-its-kind support center for addicts and family members will open in downtown Springfield this week.

The Families of Addicts Bridge of Support will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at 50 W. High St. The facility will be the first-of-its-kind for the Families of Addicts group, which began three years ago in Dayton. The organization now has chapters in Springfield, Troy, Sidney and Greenville.

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The organization hosts a large group meeting weekly on Tuesday evenings at the Mulberry Terrace Apartment complex. The new facility will be used for smaller support group and education classes, FOA Clark County Co-Director Melanie Silvus said.

It will host classes for people who have custody of children whose parents are addicts, as well as other group sessions for newcomers and self-esteeming building classes, she said. Computers have also been donated to help people with job searches and resume building.

“We’re trying to do a little bit of everything for whoever wants to come in,” Silvus said.

A record 86 people are suspected to have died from a drug overdose this year, including 66 confirmed deaths — the majority of which involve illicit fentanyl that’s 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin, Clark County Coroner Dr. Richard Marsh said.

Clark County has seen nearly 800 overdoses this year, including 620 in Springfield, according to statistics provided by Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson.

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The need for support in Clark County is great, especially for those families who are still being quiet about how they’re being affected by addiction, Silvus said. A lot of people don’t want to say anything about addiction being a part of their family, she said, especially those who have custody of children.

“If they know it’s here, maybe they will come,” Silvus said.

The location was previously known as the Many Pathways Recovery Center, which closed earlier this year. The Springfield chapter of the Families of Addicts group recently received at $28,000 grant from the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties to operate the center.

The organization has spent the past few weekends performing upgrades to the building, including painting.

Springfield resident and recovering addict Michael Lemmings painted a hand-drawn mural in the facility’s entryway. He was previously a member at the former Many Pathways, he said.

“It was a good place then but I’m excited to see what it’s about now,” Lemmings said. “It’s not just a hangout spot. This building has a purpose.”

Lemmings attends the weekly meetings where he hears from both addicts and family members, he said.

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“We get to hear where they stand,” Lemmings said.

He was happy to contribute to a facility he believes will help many more addicts and family members in the future.

“I like to draw and paint so when she asked me to do it, I was happy to do it,” Lemmings said. “I was excited to get to do something like that.”

He’s been clean for seven months after using drugs for 12 years, he said. Recovery is an ongoing journey, Lemmings said.

“It’s difficult,” he said. “This side is better. It’s better to wake up happy and see your family every day.”

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About this series: Springfield’s Opioid War

The Springfield News-Sun has written extensively about opioid and heroin problems in Clark County in the past five years, including stories about multiple overdoses in one weekend and efforts to expand treatment options. This year, the News-Sun will take a deep dive into the community’s opioid epidemic and what local officials are doing to solve the problem.

HOW TO GO

Who: Families of Addicts

What: Bridge of Support Grand Opening

When: 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday

Where: 50 W. High St.

BY THE NUMBERS

$28,000: Grant provided to FOA to operate downtown center.

86: Unconfirmed, suspected drug deaths so far this year, a record number

66: Confirmed drug deaths in 2017

800: Estimated number of drug overdoses in Clark County this year

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