2015 marked a devastating milestone for Berks County – the most deaths by heroin overdose. In response to the public health threat that heroin continues to pose to the Berks County community, local addiction experts and community leaders have announced the formation of Berks HOPE (Helping Others/Providing Expertise), a new consortium dedicated to making addiction intervention, treatment and recovery resources more easily accessible to those who need them. The free public forum, “Finding Hope and Healing in the Berks Heroin Epidemic,” to be held on January 19 at 7 p.m. at the Wilson West Auditorium, Wilson West Middle School, 450 Faust Road in Sinking Spring will be the first initiative offered by Berks HOPE.
“Those of us who work in recovery know that with the right interventions, family support and treatment, people can be free of heroin addiction,” said Doug Tieman, president and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers who helped organize the Berks HOPE consortium. “We hope that, by working together, we can make it easier for individuals and families to find the help and support they need to achieve recovery. One path to treatment does not work for everyone. Each person is different. Each family is different. That’s why we need to make sure that we make the community aware of all of the treatment and recovery resources available in Berks County.”
Berks HOPE members include Caron Treatment Centers, Treatment Access Services Center Inc. (TASC), The Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA), Reading Health System, Penn State Health St. Joseph, Easy Does It (EDI), Common Ground Recovery Ministry, Berks County District Attorney’s Office, and the Governor Mifflin School District.
The forum on January 19, which will be moderated by State Sen. Judy Schwank and feature Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, will focus on such topics as misconceptions about heroin addiction and treatment, what defines good treatment, what recovery is, as well as how and where to find treatment and support.
“The most important message that addicts and their families need to hear is that there is hope,” Tieman said. “Long-term recovery is possible.”