During a program that occasionally resembled a Sunday church service, local mental health professionals, drug prevention workers and individuals in recovery met at city hall recently totalk about addiction and recovery.
Last week’s substance abuse forum called “Join the Voices for Recovery: It’s Worth It” was held at the city of Laurinburg municipal building on Church Street. Recovered addicts were asked to share their experiences with substance abuse and treatment.
The event featured informational speeches from people on the front lines of the battle against addiction as well as motivational words from community leaders. September was National Recovery Month.
Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker told the dozens in attendance of his son, who suffered at the hands of addiction before his recent death.
“I told people in the past that I hoped my son’s passing would be a lesson,” Parker said. “This is a serious battle and with good treatment, recovery is very possible.”
Parker said he was proud of the effort that organizers had made to increase awareness about addicition.
“You all being here is what makes Laurinburg a great place,” he said. We are bigger as a whole than we are singly.”
Throughout the evening Dr. Agyenim A-Boateng led attendees in the recitation of an affirmative declaration about the ongoing struggle with addiction.
“Prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover,” A-Boateng said.
Evangelist Essie Davis also offered words of inspiration to both health care workers and to those currently addicted or in recovery.
“I want to proclaim the message that you can pick up the pieces of your life.”
Met with exclamations of “Amen!” Davis advised those listening to “dwell on those things that make you glad you are alive … don’t live your life doing just what your addiction wants you to do.”
Laurinburg Police officer Joshua Byrd outlined some of law enforcement’s efforts to keep prescription drugs off the streets.
Byrd said that the department oversees a program known as “Operation Medicine Drop” which allows for people to turn over prescription medications so that they may be disposed of properly, rather than diverted to the black market or misused.
WEWO radio host Mary Evans introduced a community forum featuring testimonials from locals and a question and answer session with the professionals in attendance.
Also speaking was John Lewis, field coordinator for Eastpointe, a mental health care agency. Lewis said that substance abusers “have to really want it” for treatment to be successful.