by Lisa Tome
Carrie Miller and April Foster consider themselves valuable resources when to comes to dealing with drug addiction recovery.
Neither woman did it by choice. It was a necessity.
They've formed a group S.T.E.P.S. (Recovery Resources) - Standing to Educate and Promote Sobriety, in an effort to share what they've learned. The goal is to help those dealing with drug addiction and their families. They want to help people navigate the path to recovery. Along the way, they hope to remove the stigma that is attached to drug addiction.
"My daughter is a recovering addict. That greatly touched the whole family...For me to help one person, that will make all of this worth it," said Foster.
Miller is also dealing with someone who is "chronically addicted" in her family.
"We're not counselors. We're just here to support them," said Foster.
Miller is in college, studying social work. She wants to be an addictions counselor. She also copes with a chronic disease and teaches classes on pain management without opiates.
"If a family calls us, we can help them identify the signs (of addiction)," said Foster.
"When someone says 'I need help' you only have a short time to help them," said Miller.
"I know a (drug rehab) facility in Baltimore that will take someone today," said Foster.
They've kept records of all their contacts - physicians, centers, and places where addicts can get help. Now they want to share their contacts; doctors, pain management information, facilities where addicts can receive help and more.
Miller has been helping addicts informally for more than three years. The women said they've had both successes and failures while working to help people.
They are funding meetings and providing help to people themselves. They recently paid to fund a drug-addicted, pregnant woman to stay in a hotel until she went to a treatment facility. They plan to apply for a 501(c)3 (non-profit) designation.
"The bottom line is we're helping people. Our ultimate goal is to remove the stigma and save as many lives as we can," said Miller.
They also work with local churches and shelters to provide food and a place to stay for addicts.
Foster said she also wants the parents of addicts to know that the addiction is not their fault. "The addict has to be the one to make the lifestyle change. You have to treat the whole family unit," said Foster.
Both women recently completed the Cecil County Health Department training to administer Narcan to addicts.
"I can't save my family member. Maybe I can save someone else's," said Miller.
For more information regarding S.T.E.P.S., contact April Foster at 443-553-0523 or Carrie Miller at 443-907-8091.
The group will meet on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Best Western, Elwoods Lane, North East. Active addicts, their families, and anyone touched by drug addiction is welcome to attend.