The program began with the first-ever “Voice Change Hope” conference on prescription drug and heroin addiction, which was held in August at St. Joseph High School. The all-day event drew about 350 attendees, including healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers, educators, and other local residents, who learned about the prescription drug and heroin epidemic and how the community can support the recovery of those struggling with addiction. Statistics provided by the presenters showed that in recent years, Berrien County has ranked in the top five counties in Michigan for heroin overdose. The grant will support additional conferences and education on addictions.
“With the recent increase in heroin and opioid painkiller related deaths, it is imperative that we continue to work as a community to address all the factors contributing to this issue,” said Kerri Teachout, Substance Abuse Prevention Supervisor at the Berrien County Health Department. “Together, our partnership of stakeholder organizations and committed citizens can bring greater awareness to the problem of substance abuse, enhance the systems supporting those struggling with addiction, and ultimately improve our community’s health.”
For information about future drug addiction conferences, call (269) 683-4411 ext. 649.
About the Community Wellness Endowment
Lakeland Health’s Community Wellness Endowment is designed to help fund other not-for-profit organizations that are providing health programs or initiatives that are new or an expansion of current efforts. It is the goal of the endowment, which is administered through the Lakeland Health Foundations, to enhance healthy living throughout southwest Michigan. For more information, contact the Lakeland Health Foundations at (269) 927-5143 or visit www.lakelandhealthfoundations.org
Pictured above: From left to right: Lt. Melinda Logan (Michigan State Police), Carol Stockman (community member), Sheriff Paul Bailey (Berrien County Sheriff), Dr. Loren Hamel (Lakeland Health President and CEO), Lt. Randy Miller (Berrien County Sheriff’s Department), David Burghart (Lakeland Health Foundations), Shannon Larry-Burton (Berrien County Health Department), Robin Ross (community member), Lisa Peeples-Hurst (Berrien County Health Department), Kerri Teachout (Berrien County Health Department), Dr. Rick Johansen (Berrien County Medical Director), Kelly Laesch (Berrien County Sheriff’s Department), Rev. Tom Batsky (community member), Michelle Warren (HarborTown Treatment Center).