Local website offers hope for recovery

02/15/2017  

By Sue Cody

 

Jordans Hope website launch 1.cNo one says I want to grow up and be a heroin addict.

 

Kerry Strickland saw her son Jordan struggle with heroin addiction. He was a star athlete at Knappa High School and got sidelined by an injury.

 

He began partying.

 

“What people don’t understand is heroin addiction always starts with something else,” Kerry says. For Jordan it started with alcohol.

 

And it ended with heroin. Jordan died 13 days before his 25th birthday.

 

Jordan’s Hope for Recovery

 

No one wants to see young people struggle with drug addiction or die from an overdose.

 

But it is happening. Heroin is here. Five young Clatsop County residents died of drug overdoses in the past two years.

 

“As long as there is breath, there is hope,” Kerry says. And that hope is now spreading as Clatsop County families have decided it is time to speak up and remove the shame and stigma by bringing this epidemic into the light of day and offering help to those struggling with addiction and alcoholism.

 

Jordan’s Hope for Recovery, a new nonprofit, launched its website – www.jordanshope.org – on Feb. 6, in front of 65 people at Clatsop Community College.

 

The website, designed by Scott Docherty, offers outreach to services and education around alcohol and drug addiction.

 

“Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing,” says Kerry. “No one has to suffer alone. No one has to die from this disease.”

 

The website shares the stories of four local young people who died of drug overdoses, and two who are in recovery from addiction.

 

“We are trying to make a difference by creating a website to help people connect with resources,” Kerry says.

 

To that end, Jordan’s Hope for Recovery has a four-fold mission:

• Removing the stigma that comes with addiction and alcoholism.

• Connecting those in need with recovery support and resources.

• Promoting educational resources for prevention and recovery.

• Supporting treatment models that have proven long-term success.

 

Jordan’s Hope for Recovery is the only Oregon affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCADD). It works with the policymakers in federal, state and local governments to enhance prevention and research.

 

The website lists resources, such as drug and alcohol counseling, detox centers, grief counseling, sober living facilities and educational opportunities in Clatsop, Tillamook, Columbia and Pacific County, Washington.

 

A wealth of information about addiction is offered through NCADD. Parents can learn what to look for if they suspect their children are using drugs, how addiction works, what the Good Samaritan laws are and the joy of recovery.

 

A calendar lists all the meetings for AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and Al-Anon, color coded by county for easy reference.

 

Jordans Hope website launch 3The website launch

 

Young people handed out programs, a table was filled flyers, business cards and sign-up sheets for attendance and volunteering to help with marketing, fundraising and education. Bracelets and T-shirts with Jordan’s Hope for Recovery logo and web address were given out.

 

Six black and white portraits of local parents holding a photo of their child who died of a drug overdose hang on the wall as a haunting reminder of why this community is coming together.

 

Leslie Ford, clinical director of Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc, (GOBHI), said, “I think the highest purpose is to be able to take a tragedy like your family has been through … and turn it into something that is a noble effort, and rather than just grieving, turning it into action.”

 

She went on to say the most important thing for families struggling with addiction was a community of care that was not afraid to have those difficult conversations, and to speak up and reach out to organizations like GOBHI. “We want to support you.”

 

The Way to Wellville and its sponsor Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization support these efforts to overcome addiction and lead a healthy lifestyle.

 

Jill Quackenbush, of North Coast Prevention Works Coalition, said a federal Drug Free Community Grant will fund a coordinator to work with community outreach, including the Oregon More Campaign that addresses underage drinking, and organizations such as Jordan’s Hope for Recovery.

 

Jenny Smith, health teacher at Warrenton High School (WHS) sent a letter that was read. Smith wrote of the powerful testimony two young people recovering from addiction gave at WHS. The first-hand reports provided a different perspective and helped students open up.

 

It was important to let young people know they are not alone and help is available, she said.

 

Jordans Hope website launch 2Testimonies

 

Michael and Pamela, who presented at WHS, also spoke at the website launch.

 

Pamela shared her story of addiction that started with oxycontin. When it became too expensive and hard to get, she turned to heroin. Robbed at gunpoint, she ended up living on the streets of Portland for three years.

 

When her grandmother was dying, she was forbidden to see her, because of her drug use. She says she went off the deep end.

 

When her grandfather was dying, she wanted to see him and entered her fourth treatment center.

 

“I had shame and guilt, and knew I had to try not to let everyone down again. Tomorrow I will be 1,000 days clean and sober.”

 

Applause erupted from the crowd.

 

Pamela said, “I believe my story is worth hearing and can make a difference. I truly believe together we can make a difference.”

 

Volunteer opportunities

 

Treasurer for Jordan’s Hope for Recovery, Debbie Morrow said there are opportunities to volunteer, including helping with: 

• Funding: writing grants, fundraising

• Marketing: public relations, social media, print media

• Resources: assessments, keeping resources up to date, being a liaison to NCADD

• Education and prevention: speaker panels, sharing stories at schools, hospitals and classrooms

 

“We can’t do this alone,” Kerry says, and encourages community members to fill out the volunteer form or donate to the cause on the website, www.jordanshope.org.