Rally for Help organizer’s passion keeping drug abuse fight in the forefront in Galion
GALION — Mary Shoup is hopeful — and deeply frustrated — when it comes to a problem she says is destroying families in and around her community.
But her greatest trait is her passion. And that’s what is driving her effort to battle drug addiction.
Shoup, founder of the non-profit organization. Rally for Hope, is waging what some consider a one-woman war against a drug and heroin epidemic destroying Ohio. She is frustrated because she gets the impression that many in Galion believe residents here are immune to the drug problem that is killing teenagers and adults across the state.
“In AA, the first thing they tell you is to admit there is a problem,” she said. “I don’t think people in Galion believe we have a problem.”
Shoup, who has last two family members to chemical addiction, deal with addicts on almost a daily basis through her group. She has no qualms about the addiction problem in Galion, but she says its hard to convinces area residents, churches, community leaders and law enforcement about the severity of the problem.
“If you don’t think there is a problem in Galion, you’re wrong,” She said. “There are people in this community who are addicted. They are dying. They are going to prison. And each time they shoot up, they are playing Russian Roulette with their lives.”
Her greatest ally in this fight to date is the ADAMH Board of Crawford and Marion counties. Bradley DeCamp, executive director of the ADAMN Board is someone she shares ideas and plans with.
Those three groups are sponsoring a seminar Feb. 12 at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Galion. There is no cost to attend this “Nasal Naloxone Project” event, Shoup said.
Participants will learn that they can save lives. Anyone with a friend or family member or acquaintance who is addicted to heroin or prescription opiates, or anyone who themselves is addicted, should make plans to attend.
Registration is a requirement for the program, but those who do sign-up and attend —will to learn how to administer Nasal Naloxone to someone is in the midst of a drug overdose.
Naloxone counteracts the effects of heroin that can kill abusers.
Participates also will leave with an overdose prevention kit that includes Nasal Naloxone that they may take home and carry with them in the case their friend, or family member overdoses.
The program is modeled after the Ohio Department of Health’s “Project Dawn” (Deaths avoided with Naloxone).
Project DAWN is a community-based overdose education and naloxone distribution program in which participants receive training on: Recognizing the signs and symptoms of overdose; Distinguishing between different types of overdose; Performing rescue breathing; Calling emergency medical services; Administering Nasal Naloxone.
For more information on the program, visit the Rally for Hope website.
The group sponsoring the Feb. 12 program in Galion — as does Rally for Hope — share a common purpose, to give addicts an opportunity to regain control of their own lives.
“Addicts don’t have that,” Shoup said. “No one starts out with the intention of become addicted. Usually they get addicted to pain killers, and when those prescriptions run out, they look for something else. Who can afford $30 to $40 Percocet, which is the rate on the street?”
The simple explanation for Ohio’s growing addiction problem is heroin is cheaper than other drugs.
It’s also a lot more deadly, especially since drug dealers have started to add fentanyl and the even deadlier carfentanyl to heroin and sometimes marijuana sold illegally on the street.
“They’re using to escape reality,” Shoup said. “The pain is part of it, but they’re just looking to get high. It’s an escape from the everyday problems they’re have to deal with.”
Shoup has made it her goal to help addicts get the treatment they need to get their lives under control. She has contacts with rehab and treatment facilities all over the nation that can help addicts who decide to seek assistance. Many facilities also accept government assistance to help pay for treatment.
“I’m placing about 10 people a month,” she said. “So you can’t tell me there is not a problem.”
In about a year, she’s helped 120 people find treatment or rehab or detox facilities.
“I’m getting calls from parents who have children who are addicts,” she said. “I’ve got information available if someone wants it. I’d like to get that information to first responders and police officers so they can pass it out. I mean they’re the ones who get the calls for help and they’re dealing with the addicts and the overdoses.
“Sending all these addicts to prison is not the answer,” Shoup continues “Education and intervention has to be part of the solution.”