Dayton has been a good place for me to live and raise a family, but our area has more than its share of problems. Fortunately, Dayton is filled with good people working to address those problems. The opioid epidemic is one of Dayton’s worst problems and Lori Erion and her organization FOA Familes of Addicts is doing something about it.
“I started FOA when I learned that my daughter was using drugs,” Lori told me. “The goal was to bridge the gulf between addicts and their families. Sharing our experiences gives us strength and hope. We started with a small weekly meeting in Dayton and now it’s grown into a large weekly meeting in Dayton plus weekly meetings in cities in four other counties.”
“The purpose of our grass-roots organization is to reduce the stigma of addiction, to ensure availability of adequate recovery support services and to influence public opinion regarding the value of recovery. Money is always a problem. But the need is so great that we must find ways to continue to build FOA.”
FOA had their annual Rally 4 Recovery Sunday at Courthouse Square, and I volunteered to be one of the event’s photographers. This photo only shows part of the crowd. Another photographer went up on a lift so that he could get a photo of everyone.
The rally also had speakers, including Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine. And there was music, information booths, face painting for the kids and a balloon launch. The balloons came in four colors – YELLOW to represent those in long-term recovery, RED for those still struggling, WHITE for those who are gone but not forgotten and GREEN for anyone touched with mental illness. There was also a big media presence. I saw several people from local TV stations, one person from the NBC Nightly News, and two people working on a documentary film.
This is the kind of organization that I love to support. All of the workers are volunteers – no one gets a salary. When you donate money it goes directly to programs. You can support FOA by donating at http://www.foafamilies.org/donations.