“There are many surprises and moments of wonder in Blade Runner 2049, but you will need to be patient with it – it’s 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Although it is leisurely paced, it is thoughtful and provocative and one of the best science fiction films of this decade (along with Villeneuve’s remarkable Arrival from last year). ”
The Addiction Policy Forum reports that 144 people died in the United States every day in 2016 from a drug overdose.
“This is an epidemic unlike any other,” said Elaine Georgas, executive director of the Alcohol and Drug Addictions Services (ADAS) Board of Lorain County. “If more than 52,000 Americans died last year from any other illness or disease, communities would be outraged. We have to change the conversation and understand what addiction is and how it impacts individuals, families, and communities.”
Georgas moderated a town hall meeting at Lorain Faith UMC (Firelands District) to address the opiate and heroin epidemic that has gripped Lorain County. The evening, co-sponsored by the ADAS Board, included four panelists and a resource fair that featured nine agencies.
“As a church in Lorain, we care very deeply about this city and we feel we can no longer be silent while families are being torn apart by heroin,” said Pastor Karen Hollingsworth. “We believe that every life has value. We believe that every life is worth saving and we are speaking up to let people know that they are not alone, that there is help and there is hope.”
“I came here tonight because of the hurt that is in our city because of drug addiction,” said Kyriece Brooks. “I was very excited to see that this town hall meeting was taking place because you don’t normally see too many churches opening their doors to host a platform such as this.”
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans told the 82 people in attendance that the introduction of heroin caused opioid deaths in the county to jump from 20, in both 2010 and 2011, to 60 in 2012.
“For the first time, deaths were across the entire spectrum of inner city, suburban, farm country, and they were 50-50 between male and female. Prior to that time people dying from drug overdoses were predominantly male,” he said. “The youngest overdose death I’ve had was a 2 year-old who got ahold of a family member’s drugs. The oldest was a 75 year-old man who was sharing a hit of heroin with his grandson.”
“This drug epidemic does not discriminate, it impacts everyone,” said Narcotic Units Detective Chris Colon of the Lorain police department.
“For every person who dies there are 130 people who are addicted and there are more than 800 people using drugs inappropriately,” said Evans. “In Lorain County, 1 out of 6 people is using drugs inappropriately.”
Evans told the crowd that opiate addiction is not a new problem. “Three thousand years before Christ people were using opium,” he said.
What is new is how people are getting the drug.
“Eighty percent of our children start their drug habits from old prescription drugs that are in the home medicine cabinet. That makes us as parents our child’s first drug supplier,” he said. “This is not a criminal problem. This is a medical problem.”
He encouraged those in the crowd to clean out their medicine cabinets and take old and unused pills to any police or fire department, which will accept them with no questions asked.
All of the panelists highlighted the partnerships that exist in Lorain County with police departments, fire departments, EMS and politicians working together to end the opiate epidemic that has placed the county in the national spotlight.
In 2014 Senator Gayle Manning (R) of Ohio Senate District 13 helped pass legislation that made Lorain County a case study for the Deaths Avoided With Narcan (DAWN) program, which enabled emergency personnel to administer the FDA-approved nasal spray Narcan to those suffering from a drug overdose.
Evans reported that police officers in the county have saved more than 300 people by administering Narcan. Because of the program’s success, the State of Ohio made it possible for all police officers to carry the life-saving drug, and departments from across the country and around the world have asked that Lorain’s policies and procedures for the program be shared with them.
Thirteen people were trained on the administration of Narcan during the resource fair at Lorain Faith UMC.
“The DAWN program stabilized the death rate in Lorain County from drug overdose deaths, keeping deaths in the 60s in 2014 and 2015,” Evans said. “It started a paradigm shift. Police realized the benefit of saving lives and people were less hesitant to call in drug activity because they knew that police may be able to revive someone who was overdosing.”
But the introduction of fentanyl into the county caused drug overdose deaths to double in 2016 and Evans says that, “2017 is on pace to have more overdose deaths than last year.”
He explained that fentanyl is 50- to 100-times more powerful than morphine and heroin, and because it is a synthetic opium it that can be manufactured in a home lab without needing the opium plant.
“Users don’t know that dealers are mixing fentanyl into the heroin that they buy,” Evans said. “So they take the same dose of heroin that they took before but because of the fentanyl that is in it the effect is much greater and the body can’t take it.”
Kim Mason has been with Lifecare Ambulance Services since 2005. “When I started we hardly ever received calls for an overdose but in the past three years we have been overwhelmed by them.”
“We’ve lost the war on drugs,” Evans said. “We need to change our approach and start funding prevention and treatment programs because that is the only way we are going to get out of this.”
One such agency in Lorain County is The LCADA Way, which cares for individuals and families struggling with drug and alcohol addiction by focusing on Leadership, Compassion, Awareness, Dedication, and Advocacy.
CEO Thomas Stuber said, “Drugs are more powerful and more addictive than any I can remember in my 37 years of trying to work myself out of a job in this field. In my first year as CEO here in 1999 we had four people seek help for opiate addiction. Now it’s four people per day.”
Charlene Dellipoala is part of the team at the Lorain County Community College CARE (Caring Advocates for Recovery Education) Center, a recovery/addiction center that works with students, faculty, and staff who have addiction issues.
“When I started out I was working with students who had issues with alcohol or marijuana but now I see so many who are addicted to harder drugs,” she said. “It breaks your heart when you think of young people who are just starting out on college careers having something like that impact them.”
“Addiction is a scary problem because it doesn’t matter what race you are, what class you are, or what gender you are,” Mason said. “It impacts not only the addict but also that person’s family, friends, and co-workers.”
“After the meeting I spoke to a man in fellowship hall who said, ‘When you help me, you help the community.’” Hollingsworth said. “His words have stayed on my heart. We often think that if we only help one person we are not making much of a difference. His statement sheds a whole new light on the difference helping one person can make and how it ripples into the community.”
*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.
A reminder that the dates announced at the conclusions this year of both the East Ohio Conference session and the West Ohio Conference session were changed in July.
Annual Conference 2018 for East Ohio will be held at Lakeside Chautauqua June 11-14. Youth Annual Conference 2018 will be June 8-10.
Financial & Administrative Services
Benefits Enrollment Begins Nov. 1 The East Ohio Conference is switching to the HealthFlex benefits program in 2018. Our conference joins 28 others across the denomination in using the health benefits plan offered by Wespath Benefits and Investments, a general agency of The United Methodist Church.
Participants select medical/pharmacy, dental, and vision plans; choose eligible dependents to cover; and can contribute to reimbursement accounts for pre-tax savings in 2018 and to save for future health needs.
Click here to view the HealthFlex Benefits workshop video and learn more about the plan and available options.
PARTICIPANTS MUST ELECT A PLAN during the enrollment period of Wednesday, November 1 to Thursday, November 16.
New Employees Welcomed
Amy Lowdermilk and Teri Capron joined the East Ohio Conference Financial and Administrative Services office on October 2.
Lowdermilk is our new senior accountant. She has a wealth of experience, having previously worked as a cash manager, a treasury analyst, and a corporate accountant. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (800) 831-3972 x-156.
Capron is our new accounts receivable clerk. She has more than 20 years of experience as an administrative assistant for a law firm specializing in workers compensation cases. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or via phone at (800) 831-3972 x-135.
Ohio Minimum Wage Increasing in 2018 Minimum wage in the State of Ohio will increase beginning January 1, 2018. The new minimum wage will be $8.30/hour, an increase of $0.15. Pay for tipped employees will increase from $4.08 to $4.15/hour.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr. Employers are required to pay whichever minimum wage is HIGHER.
Positions Available The Conference Council on Ministries of the East Ohio Conference is receiving applications for two full-time positions:
Applicants must e-mail a letter of interest and a current resume to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1.
Advance Special 9143- Project Hope for the Homeless As the only emergency homeless shelter in Lake County, Project Hope for the Homeless operates three programs to respond to the human hurts and hopes of persons who are homeless in Lake County by providing emergency shelter, care, and guidance, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ. The shelter operates a 50-bed program for individual adults including a 12-bed enclosed wing for families with children (Families Moving Forward), and an aftercare program that serves all guests.
In 2016, 88 percent of the record-breaking 430 individuals who stayed at 25 Freedom Road made a successful transition to secure a positive housing transition and/or secure behavioral health care or chemical dependency treatment. Former guests are now board members, employees, volunteers, and active in their communities. Thank you to the East Ohio United Methodist Conference for being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ! Others can join our efforts by visiting www.projecthopeonline.org.
Christian Churches Together Founding Director Michael Kinnamon recommended that churches, as an ecumenical witness, should make sure they know some of the joys and concerns of other churches in the community, and pray for them by name.
Biola University’s Dr. Tim Muelhoff, author of Winsome Persuasion: Christian Influence in a Post-Christian World affirmed his analysis of today’s culture of argument.
Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Rozanski noted that services on October 31 remembering the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will be opportunities for common Catholic Protestant witness.
Christian Churches Together is a fellowship of Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Orthodox, African-American and Protestant Christian Communions & organizations in the U.S.A. witnessing together to the reconciling power of the Gospel of Jesus.
November 13-15 revitup! for a Lifetime in Ministry Wespath is hosting an educational event for clergy ages 39 and under. This event serves to strengthen personal, financial and leadership skills in order to sustain a lifetime in ministry.
The UMC Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders is offering a limited number of scholarships through a Lilly Endowment grant which seeks to strengthen personal and congregational financial stewardship leadership. The opportunity includes complimentary registration and two nights at the host hotel if the recipient agrees to the following requirements: participate in an online survey, and complete the EY financial assessment survey. To apply for this scholarship, registrants should utilize the code provided during the registration process. For more information.
UM Financial Credit Union
International Credit Union Day October 19, 2017 is International Credit Union Day. Stop in at our North Canton or Cincinnati branch to celebrate the credit union movement with us! Learn more information on how your credit union works for YOU and the different products and services we offer. Light refreshments will be provided.
Christmas Club Accounts If you currently have a Christmas Club savings account with UMFCU, checks from those accounts will be sent out on October 25. If you have questions or concerns, please contact one of our offices for more information: North Canton (800) 831-3972 or Cincinnati (800) 373-1059.
Stronger “The film is a master class in art direction, using the exterior of Dickinson’s Amherst home to set the stage for an authentic recreation of mid-19th century America. Emily’s family lived through the Civil War and was intellectually engaged with the world beyond their neighborhood. In several scenes involving doctors we are reminded that the best medical knowledge of the time was often inadequate to treat many serious conditions; the possibility of death was ever-present.”