“It was just a matter of time – and not much of it – before I would be dead. I knew it. I already knew I felt dead inside. Luckily for me, I found the support group just in time. I am not sure my recovery would have been successful if it weren’t for the support that came from the JFCS Recovery Chavurah Addiction Support Group. I felt like I could finally talk about what was going on – in my body, mind, and even my soul,” says Jamie* a JFCS client dealing with addiction and recovery.
Jamie is not alone. Sadly, the number of hospital admissions and fatalities due to opiate and heroin overdoses has dramatically increased, especially in the young adult population, indicating a ‘new normal’ that has been brewing in our suburbs. Drug addiction, with specific emphasis on narcotics related to prescription pain medicine, and heroin, has begun to reach epic levels in our community. We are committed to standing by those who suffer from addiction and preventing further tragedies – by arming all with awareness, information on warning signs, and access to resources and support for healing.
In furtherance of this goal, last year, JFCS offerred the above-mentioned Recovery Chavurah (friendship circle) for families and addicts in recovery. JFCS also participated in a conference focused on educating our local teachers, parents, and physicians about this heart breaking issue in late 2013 and was a sponsor of a Community Summit in Camden County held on May 2014.
JFCS will soon be launching an awareness program, entitled “Right in our Backyard,” that will focus on our local Jewish community through the synagogues and Jewish organizations. The program, generously sponsored by Gregg Wolfe, who tragically lost his son Justin to a heroin overdose, will offer a multi-leveled experience for parents and teens. Mr. Wolfe also sponsored the Recovery Chavurah. A panel of experts, including an addictions specialist, member of law enforcement, parent of a loved one lost to addiction and an individual in recovery will lead each session. The goals will be to ‘shine a light’ on the prevalence of the issues, normalize discussions on the topic, share warning signs and offer safe and accessible ways to seek guidance and help. Ultimately, if successful, the program will save lives by increasing awareness, promoting conversation and helping others to be comfortable in asking for help.
While our neighbors, and the nation, struggle with unprecedented saturation of drug addiction in our communities, JFCS will be reaching out in every way possible to make sure we can guide as many lives as possible to healing. If you or someone you know is an addict, or affected by the addiction of someone else, please call our offices for confidential support and guidance, at 856-424-1333.
*Names of JFCS clients are changed to protect privacy.