Springfield group to open downtown center to help addicts, families

A local organization that supports the families of people with addiction will open a center in downtown Springfield to expand its services later 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 building at 50 W. High St., formerly known as the Many Pathways Recovery Center.

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The facility will be the first-of-its-kind for the Families of Addicts group, which began three years ago in Dayton, said Executive Director Lori Erion, a Park Layne resident.

It will serve as a meeting space for family members and recovering addicts to work through issues together, Families of Addicts Co-Director Brad Silvus said. Co-Director Melanie Silvus will serve as the soon-to-be-renamed center’s director.

“We tend to have recovery things and family things (separately),” said Brad Silvus, who’s also the Greenon Local Schools superintendent. “That’s what we love about FOA. It’s where we bring everyone together.”

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The facility will fill a big need in the community at a time when the opioid crisis is more prevalent than ever, Melanie Silvus said. Last year Clark County saw 79 drug-related deaths; this year 78 suspected drug deaths have already occurred in the first six months.

“We already face where there’s not enough treatment facilities or beds here,” she said. “If we can just assist in any way for the family side, let alone the recovery side, I think it’s an added bonus that we’re here.”

The organization now has chapters in Springfield, Troy, Sidney and Greenville. Erion has been looking to open a similar facility in Montgomery County, she said.

“Now we can really do the pilot that I wanted to do there here and implement some of my ideas about recovery supports,” Erion said. “I feel like it’s a little bit smaller and we can test drive some of these things.”

The group has a unique perspective on helping people with addiction and can touch on several different angles of recovery, including fellowship, education and advocacy, said Tracey Stute, director of treatment, prevention and support for the Mental Health and Recovery Board.

“It’s an opportunity for people to go somewhere and include their families,” she said. “I think the possibilities are limitless.”

The center can help shorten the process for families looking for resources to help those struggling with addiction, such as looking for treatment centers with open beds in other communities, Melanie Silvus said.

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The Families of Addicts group in Springfield started hosting weekly meetings on Tuesdays in December, Brad Silvus said. The group has been growing ever since, hosting more than 60 people at its last meeting on June 27.

As the contract for Many Pathways expired on June 30, the Mental Health and Recovery Board was looking for a new tenant to provide services to the community and contacted the Silvus family. They presented to both the recovery board and the FOA board last month, both of which approved the proposal, Brad Silvus said.

The group has set a target opening date of mid-August, Brad Silvus said, hosting a grand opening in the fall.

The facility will likely have an area with computers for people in recovery to look for jobs, write resumes and work on interview skills, he said. It will also include an FOA store with literature and resource books for new families.

The group will look to build a space for children, as well as find a volunteer to treat children with trauma, Brad Silvus said.

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“We’re seeing it more and more every day — more families, more kids being affected by this,” he said.

The facility will also look to bring in volunteer peer specialists for both addicts in recovery and family members, he said.

“Sometimes (the family members) need help just as much, if not more, than those that are going through the addiction,” Brad Silvus said. “Let’s face it: Sometimes those with active addiction don’t want to be helped. The family still has to deal with that and we need to have advocates for them as well.”


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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.


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

79: Drug-related deaths in Clark County last year.

78: Suspected drug-related deaths in Clark County this year.

51: Confirmed drug-related deaths in Clark County this year.

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