Unless you’ve been affected by addiction, it can be an easy issue to ignore and a difficult one to understand. But there is no ignoring the facts—23.2 million Americans suffer from some form of addiction, a chronic disease equivalent to diabetes and heart disease.
The government has begun to treat it as seriously as its chronic disease equivalents, too. Recently, the White House announced $13.4 million in funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, including a targeted Heroin Response Strategy to address the trafficking, distribution, and use of heroin, a drug that has grown more popular in recent years. Mirmont Treatment Center’s Jessica Cirillo was recently interviewed about the topic on KYW Newsradio.
For the families of those who struggle with addiction, this news is a step in the right direction and a nod to an issue that has not gotten much attention.
Tina Bruckner, a Paoli Hospital employee, calls the issue an epidemic. It’s what led her and co-worker Lynne Stilley to start a support group for Main Line Health employees who, like themselves, had loved ones who struggled with addiction. The ‘One Day at a Time’ group started in June 2015 with just five attendees and, in only two months, has grown to include a member list of more than 30 employees.
The goal of the ‘One Day at a Time’ group, whose meetings are held twice a month at Paoli Hospital, is to provide a safe haven for women whose family members struggle with addiction. The group discusses issues like treatment options, recovery and relapse, and invites speakers with clinical expertise to elaborate on topics like ‘What is Addiction?’ and ‘The Brain and Addiction.’
“I had been to support groups before, but this one is different. It provides everyone a safe spot to talk, and to take as much or as little as they want from the group. We just want people to know that they don’t have to suffer or feel alone, and that we’re there as a resource,” says Tina.
The group has adopted the following quote by Margaret Mead as their theme: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that has.”