Amber Beavers, a nurse at Adena Greenfield Medical Center, and Beth Bullock, a business owner, spoke at the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition meeting Thursday about their struggles with the death of a loved on due to addiction.
Coalition President Creed Culbreath said that Beavers and Bullock have received training and have been on runs with the Highland County Quick Response Team.
Beavers started Adam’s Hope after her younger brother Adam suffered a fatal overdose this year. Adam was 25.
Beavers shared with those at the meeting that Adam first tried heroin at a party when he was 19. Over the next six years, she said he overdosed seven times, went to jail six times, and went to two rehabilitation facilities. But Adam had been doing better, Beavers said. He’d gotten clean, moved into his own place, and not only had a job at Small Town Fitness in Greenfield but was also insured and bonded and started doing side jobs, which included dry-walling. He’d been sober for nearly two years when he died on April 14.
“He missed his last Vivitrol shot three weeks prior to that,” Beavers said. “We went to lunch on March 18 to be together as it had marked one year since losing our dad. I knew then he had a lot of things on his mind. He’d let an old friend come and stay, work had gotten slow. The best me and my family can figure, he only did heroin again three times before his fatal overdose. ‘Why?’ is the question that haunts me daily. He had support, good people to turn to, but I’m sure he thought it wouldn’t happen to him.”
Beavers created Adam’s Hope with local group REACH for Tomorrow’s assistance to help those still struggling with addiction. Beavers said that, to date, Adam’s Hope has directly helped three people get treatment. Adam’s Hope has also helped pay for mental health services and transportation for recovering addicts and their families.
“Addiction does not discriminate. It takes good people and turns them into people we sometimes don’t recognize,” Beavers said.
Beth Bullock told those at the coalition meeting that she lost her son to a fatal overdose five years ago. She said he had been struggling with addiction for nine years.
“He’d been home for 48 hours after his third 28-day program,” Bullock said. “At that time, I thought 28 days was treatment. I thought, ‘You’re good. Twenty-eight days. You’ve done this three times. What’s the problem?’ I remember standing on the front porch not long before he died and saying, ‘Just walk away. Just put this down, and walk away.’ He was like, ‘Mom, I can’t do that,’ and I didn’t get it.”
After her son’s death, Bullock decided to educate herself.
“I was that ‘not my kid’ mom. I took him to church. I raised him right,” Bullock said. “But when he died, I decided: I need to learn more about this; I have to know what this is, what did we do wrong, could we have done anything? Even when the autopsy report came in, I was on the phone with the pathologist for an hour. I wanted to know every little detail of what happened.”
Bullock started an organization called Brave Choices.
“When you start one of these organizations, you’re on fire,” Bullock said. “And then you take a step back and you look at it five years later, and you’re like, ‘That took a big turn.’ It’s totally different now than what it was intended to do, but it’s good.”
Bullock said that although Brave Choices started as an organization to educate families about addiction and to provide resources, it evolved. Bullock worked with Clermont County law enforcement to develop packets for families with checklists detailing what to do in the event that their loved one overdoses and what to do if the overdose is fatal. As soon as the packets were finalized, the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office ordered 150 packets for deputy cars. Since then, Bullock has sent her packets around the state of Ohio as well as to Maine, Los Angeles, South Carolina and Ontario, Canada.
Bullock said that although she’s lost count of how many people Brave Choices has helped find treatment, she’s been able to built a lot of good relationships with treatment facilities. Brave Choices also partnered up with the Adam’s Recovery women’s program in Loveland to provide toiletries for women who come to the center.
“A lot of these girls are coming off the street, they’re coming out of jail — they don’t have anything,” Bullock said. “These bridges get burnt, and they don’t have anybody to turn to, and yet it’s what they need to get to the next step.”
Other news from
the coalition meeting
The Highland County Quick Response Team (QRT)’s new call coordinator, Larry Parker, announced that the QRT has been getting more self-referrals. Parker added that he will be developing the QRT’s Facebook page to enhance its social outreach. Like or follow the “Highland County Quick Response Team” page on Facebook for more information.
Highland County Community Action Health Services Manager Sara Fizer announced that the Early Headstart Home Base program currently has openings. Fizer said for the Home Base program, a teacher comes to the home and works with the child and the parent once a week for 90 minutes. Those eligible for the Home Base program must be pregnant or have children under the age of 3.
Fizer added that the Headstart Center in Greenfield will have openings after the beginning of the year. The full-day program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Children ages 3 to 5 are eligible.
The next coalition general meeting will be on Thursday, Jan. 23 from noon to 1 p.m. General meetings are open to the public. Meetings take place at the North High Business Center, located at 1487 N High St. in Hillsboro. To stay up-to-date on future events, follow the “Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition” page on Facebook.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.