"Needless to say, I did not find any support, anywhere. I have lost many family members and friends who did not want to understand this illness. The word "choice, enabling and co-dependant always entered into the conversation.
I have tried to love my son into recovery, beg him, threaten him, tough love him, and even have him arrested. Now I just accept it love him for who he is. I support him and I will never give up on him. I have watched many of his friends pass and I do not want to be that mother who has regrets for our last conversation. I have allowed this consume me for years, but now I am an advocate for harm reduction. I understand the importance of meeting those with substance use where they are at and not leaving them there. That compassion and education often bring change.
Today I carry narcan and have excess to fentanyl testing strips and clean syringes. I now accept what I cannot change. I advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I speak at the Ohio State House when there are bills that pertain to addiction and recovery. I have worked with the local police department to set up and implement the initiative from the PARRI program. I work with various local agencies to educate the community. Education is part of the solution.
I work with various local agencies to embrace and educate the community. I am co coordinator of The Newark Homeless Outreach, where I can give out resources to those seeking a place to live or help with their substance use. Whether it be a warm meal, a change of clothes or just a kind word, we are there with outreached arms and a smile. As long as someone has breath in them- I will do everything in my power to help them stay alive. Addiction is a family disease."
Licking County has hosted Overdose Awareness events, participated in the GOP event in Cleveland and was there as Unite to Face Addiction stopped the silence in Washington DC. in 2015. We look forward to fighting for Harm Reduction in our county and will not stop until those fighting the hardest battle are treated without shame and stigma and given the chances they so badly deserve.
Patricia (Trish) Perry is from Newark, Ohio.She is the Licking County Coordinator for OhioCAN (Change Addiction Now).
"I am a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I began this journey known now as Substance Use Disorder with my son (Billy) 8 years ago. At a labor day grill out, his girlfriend told me he was shooting heroin. I did not know where to go or what to do."