The Right Fix The News-Banner looks at opioid addiction treatment options available locally and what other communities are doing to combat the crisis, from medication to support groups.

By JESSICA WILLIAMS | jessicaw@news-banner.com

Part 1: Thursday, April 27

'We really don't want to be this way'

Brianna DiBattiste of Dunkirk died in 2014 after a suspected heroin overdose and her body was found near the Jay County Conservation Club.

The first chapter of A Better Life — Brianna's Hope was started in the fall of 2014 in Redkey. Now people in Zanesville is interested in starting a chapter of the support group, as are people in Decatur. ABLBH has almost two dozen chapters in a dozen counties.

"Please Lord, look after me and my family. Please help me to do the right thing and to show people I am not a bad person inside or out and help me Lord to get through this disappointment again and I know I make mistakes but who doesn't? I don't do it to do wrong. I do it cuz I feel I have no other choice. I want a better life, Lord, I do. Please help me. Do to me as what you feel is best. I surrender to you. In Jesus' name, Amen." — Brianna's prayer

Part 2: Friday, April 28

What is treatment? What is here? How do you access it? What are treatment recommendations at the state and federal levels?

To read through the Indiana Drug Enforcement Treatment and Prevention Task Force's final report, click here. To read the 2016 "Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health" report, click here.

The county has counseling services available, but there are no detox centers, medication-assisted treatment options or rehab centers nearby, which creates barriers of transportation and further costs. And the local hospital does not treat addictions, either.

Some resources from the CADA manual. Click to enlarge.

Part 3: Saturday, April 30

'I want help and they won't help me'

Tina Arnold's necklace contains the ashes of her son, Steven Lawhorn, who died in December 2015 from a heroin overdose. Arnold, who lives in Bluffton, was told by police that her son was crying out for help but she says he didn't know where to go or how to get help. The writing on the necklace says, "Always in my heart."
Steven Lawhorn died in Huntington about a year and a half ago after a heroin overdose. His mother Tina Arnold, of Bluffton, says her son loved to fish.

Part 4: Monday, May 1

'Everyone in this room is worth saving'

Adams County Drug Court Judge Patrick Miller

Adams County Drug Court is one of the newer such programs in Indiana. Nearly since its inception, officials have utilized naltrexone (Vivitrol), a medication that blocks opioids from binding in the brain's receptors to prevent users from getting high.

There are discussions about offering Vivitrol in Wells County. The drug court judge says there are currently three prescribers of the medication in Adams County, and none in Wells, Allen, or Jay.

Part 5: Tuesday, May 2

'There is so much need here'

Two new counseling services have opened in Bluffton, and the therapists at both say they are meeting a need while addressing mental health concerns. One came from an office in Fort Wayne and said he is encouraged by the efforts he has seen so far in fixing the drug addiction issues in Wells County.

Part 6: Wednesday, May 3

'We'd like it to be Mayberry but it's not.'

Kelley Householder, executive director of Community Care of Wells County.

There are organizations and people around Wells County working to connect people to the resources and help that they need. One "help desk" is the Connecting Center, located at 116 S. Johnson St. in Bluffton. It is part of Community Care of Wells County.

Meanwhile, John Cole is the county's Systems of Care director. He works out of Family Centered Services on the city's north side and is funded by a grant through the state to work to connect people with resources and strengthening the system in place for doing so.

Full summaries, text from the Indiana General Assembly, of Sen. Jim Merritt' bills as mentioned in Wednesday's edition.

Previous reporting

Check out the News-Banner's archives to learn more about:

  • RecoveryWorks, offered locally through Park Center
  • Intensive Supervision Program, through Wells County Probation and Wells Circuit Court
  • Faith-based Reformers Unanimous and its new support group partners, Parents Against Drug Abuse
  • Overdose-reversing medication Narcan
  • How addiction has affected Bluffton Regional Medical Center's ER and OB/GYN departments
  • A family's struggle as a son tied to dealing "potent heroin" serves time in prison

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