2017-04-19 / News

Effort to form FAN chapter moves forward

BY STEVEN KOVAC
810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomepaper.com


Back row, left to right: Jim Johnson, Drug Task Force; Duane Lange, ISD Supt.; Mike Wilson, A Chance to Change; Brian McGinnis, Marlette Police Chief; Jamie Foster, A Chance to Change; Garry Biniecki, Sheriff; Trooper Mark Swales, Michigan State Police. Front row, left to right: Hilda Hebberd, Marlette Regional Hospital; Louise Blasius, McKenzie Health System; Joe Garcia, Marlette Regional Hospital. 
Photo by Steven Kovac Back row, left to right: Jim Johnson, Drug Task Force; Duane Lange, ISD Supt.; Mike Wilson, A Chance to Change; Brian McGinnis, Marlette Police Chief; Jamie Foster, A Chance to Change; Garry Biniecki, Sheriff; Trooper Mark Swales, Michigan State Police. Front row, left to right: Hilda Hebberd, Marlette Regional Hospital; Louise Blasius, McKenzie Health System; Joe Garcia, Marlette Regional Hospital. Photo by Steven Kovac MARLETTE — The process of creating a Sanilac County chapter of Families Against Narcotics took another step forward last Thursday.

During the April 13 at Marlette City Hall, 10 community leaders from across the county representing education, health care, social work, and law enforcement assembled for their second meeting in four weeks with the objective of getting a countywide FAN chapter going.

One of the strongest supporters of the idea is Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki, who stressed the need for the additional services FAN could provide to help substance abusers and their families.

“I’ve been 42 years involved with the revolving door at the jail,” Biniecki told the group. “And I can tell you from that experience that what we are doing now doesn’t work.”

Louise Blasius, representing McKenzie Health System in Sandusky, added her support.

“From McKenzie’s community health needs assessment, we learned our county residents are concerned about the opioid epidemic and want to learn more about the drug crisis,” said Blasius.” That’s why FAN is such a compelling initiative to us. McKenzie takes this drug issue so seriously we became the first hospital in Michigan to be an oxycodone-free emergency department.”

Case studies have shown that manyaddictions get startedwhen patients are prescribed heavy-duty narcotic painkillers while hospitalized, the group has been told.

Blasius volunteered to serve on a new Sanilac FAN chapter’s governing board of directors. FAN is a community-based organization of local leaders and concerned citizens with the mission of saving lives by empowering individuals and communities to eradicate addiction through education, prevention strategies, and by providing a social support network to help meet the needs of addicts and their families.

“FAN’s motto,” said Jamie Foster, operations manager for A Chance to Change, Drug and Alcohol Testing in Sandusky, and enthusiastic FAN supporter, “is ‘With FAN no family suffers alone.’”

Marlette Police Chief Brian McGinnis, a FAN promoter, said after the meeting, “We have continued our process and we are a step closer to our goal of creating a countywide FAN chapter. I am encouraged. We are being contacted by the community who are seeking out help and offering input for the future of FAN in Sanilac County.”

At the meeting, McGinnis and Biniecki volunteered to serve on a committee to approach Circuit Judge Donald Teeple and District Judge Gregory Ross in order to seek their support for FAN’s creation and future cooperation with FAN’s programs.

The recent rash of heroin overdoses across the county has spurred interest in establishing a local FAN chapter.

The next meeting of the exploratory group will be Mon. May 22, at 2 p.m. at the Marlette City Hall.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 Sanilac County News, All Rights Reserved

Special Sections

Click here for digital edition
2017-04-19 digital edition