Springfield continues to expand its role in combatting addiction through local training, advocacy and messaging.
Earlier this year, the community joined more than a dozen other cities in a pilot project organized through Facing Addiction, which launched its second phase in Springfield last week.
“We’re a national non-profit organization with the primary mission of trying to really unify the voices of 45 million people in this country who are directly impacted by addiction,” said Michael King, director of outreach and engagement with Facing Addiction.
While the organization focuses on all types of alcohol and drug addictions, Springfield was chosen in part because of current challenges it faces in the opioid epidemic.
Eric Moffitt, a volunteer with Better Life in Recovery (BLR), says “I think the way we’re going to face that as the community is partially with networking and organizing within the professional communities, the treatment communities and the different other groups in recovery.”
Moffitt adds that lobbying local government officials is necessary for “the things we believe Greene County needs the most and what the community needs the most” regarding addiction recovery.
Moffitt and King were joined last week by David Stoecker, BLR’s founder and executive director, to share networking tips and advocacy strategies with community members.
Facing Addiction’s first phase was recruitment. Phase three will focus on communicating with elected officials, and phase four will involve developing political strategies for possible addiction solutions.
King says while there are tangible goals such as increased awareness and education, the real goal is long term sustainability.
“If I hear from these guys that next June, two months theoretically after the project ended, that they’re having a big community meeting to rally about equipping more police officers with Narcan for example, that’s success to me.”
King, Moffitt, and Stoecker are all recovering addicts, and agree that communicating to current addicts that recovery is possible is crucial to tackling addiction.
“We need to get the message out there that recovery is not only possible, it’s amazing… and I think somebody that is in long term recovery is uniquely qualified to provide that hope for somebody who is still living in active subsistence disorder,” says Stoecker.
King says Springfield is an ideal place for this project because of leaders like Moffitt and Stoecker promoting change.
“What this community has going for it the most as I see it right now is guys like this, it’s the fire, and the enthusiasm and the passion to really organize and make change happen,” says King.