Warren town hall on opioid crisis Wednesday will talk prevention, treatment

- Terri Braden's only son, Adam, lost his battle with heroin after 11 rehabs in 10 years and a few overdoses until the fatal overdose in 2017.

Adam was just 29 but he had been fighting that demon for 10 years.

"It was a pretty rough year 2014, in and out of jail a couple of times, rehabs about five," said Terri Braden. "Towards the end of 2014 he actually got it together."

Adam was sober for about a year but the draw of the drug, the addiction too strong and Adam went back to heroin.

"Once he injected it he said I fell in love - it was better than anything else," Terri recalled.

And it was worse than anything else, it was deadly. In Macomb County in 2016, there were 201 deaths related to heroin or fentanyl - up from 138 a year earlier.

"Unfortunately, though we're not proud of it, we've had this opioid problem for many years," said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. 

Wickersham is one of the many who will be on hand for a town hall Wednesday night featuring federal, state and local law enforcement along with prevention and treatment specialists to educate the community about the opioid epidemic.

"It's getting the message out, getting people in the room to start talking about it and coming up with solutions," Wickersham said.

It is what Andrew Brown is focused on as well. He is a recovering heroin addict and has been clean for 10 years.

Brown now works as a peer recovery coach and supervisor for care of Southeast Michigan. He knows what clients are going through because he's been there.

"Anyone can fall into this," he said. "It's not like it discriminates based on where you come from or how much your family made or how good a parents you had. It affects everyone.

"It's heartbreaking but there is help really for anyone affected by the opioid crisis right now."

It's the same message Terri wants others to understand. She may have lost her son - but she's not finished fighting for the children of so many others - so many people struggling with addiction - so many families struggling to understand and to help.

"People need to reach out, not isolate," she said. "It's not good for the addict, and it's not good for the family."

Anyone interested, impacted or struggling with this issue is invited to attend. The event is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Van Dyke Community Auditorium Wednesday night - in Warren.

The Van Dyke Community Auditorium is located at 22900 Federal Avenue, Warren. Amy Lange will be the moderator for the evening. Special guests include Macomb County Executive Mark A, Hackel and Van Dyke Public Schools Superintendent Piper Bognar.

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