- by Matthew McCoy

I recently started a Facebook drug outreach page that has quickly taken on a life of its own. There seems to be much need for a bridge between the community and mental health and addiction services in our area and that is exactly what we are trying to do.

Our first of hopefully many information sessions will be held at the Legion in Owen Sound on February 16th from 6pm to 9pm. We will have speakers from different mental health and addiction services in the area as well as brochures and hand outs on additional services.

Shortly before Christmas this past year a teenage boy named Andrew passed away from an overdose. We received a letter from our daughter's school as Andrew was a former student there. And it all started there. As a former heroin addict and abuse victim I wanted to give back to the community and youth in anyway I could. After speaking with my wife and father I started the page. Since then it has been a ride. My wife Tara and I have attended an information seminar by the OPP in London on the dangers of fentynal and met with many parents of addicts. So first it was the page then a 24 hour hotline and now it's a ton more.

Very shortly after the page was up and running Andrew's mother Angela Loughnan joined on board. And together we have been approaching this thing from every angle. She has a priceless perspective as a mother in the health care field who had already jumped through all the hoops to get services for her son. She also knows the pain first hand of having the sweetest gift of life ripped away. The way she speaks to other parents that are so scared is breathtaking.

Together we share life experiences that not many other people get to see the other side of, and are using our experience to help others not only get through their own experience but also find the established services in our community.

This has led to these information sessions.

Members of the public health team will be on hand for the session and will be doing naloxone training and providing free kits to anyone who takes part in the training.

The event of course is free and open to all members of the public. We will be taking up donations of non-perishable food items for Safe N' Sound Homelessness Initiative. Please check out more updates on our Facebook page

24 hour hotline 519-492-0986


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