Forty-seven local families have now found help for a loved one’s addiction through LINC, or Local Initiative Networking Compassion.
The program, started by the Wellington police in 2016, allows those struggling with addiction to be placed in recovery facilities across the country and remain free from legal consequences, providing a valuable tool in the local fight against deadly opioid overdoses.
Mike Goss, pastor at United Church of Huntington, recently spoke to village council about success stories he’s witnessed as well as the role that his and other churches have played in the recovery process.
“I am here, first and foremost, to commend this community,” he said. “We’ve had recent organizational meetings for LINC and there’s been upward of 25 people there throwing out ideas and working in collaboration. We want to provide access points for those suffering from addiction and make clear where those access points are.”
“At the churches, we’re not the professionals in this, we’re the loving, caring connectors,” Goss said. “What we’re really focusing on now is support on the backside of treatment, when someone is done or almost done. It’s easy to drop right back into the same patterns around that time.
Goss said he and other LINC members remain in contact with other county organizations like Elyria’s Love Inc. and Vermilion’s Let’s Get Real Inc. while striving to improve odds for people in the most vulnerable period of their recovery.
“We work with people to help them find life coaches,” he said. “Let’s Get Real has been a key partner for us to say the least. As I’m connected with many county task forces, I can tell you that LINC is standing out. Other communities has reached out to (police) chief Tim Barfield and Lt. (Jeff) Shelton to see what we’re doing here in Wellington.”
Barfield, sitting a few feet away from Goss, stressed the continued importance of a community effort with LINC.
He said another town hall event on opioids is being planned for early May, likely to be held at the Patricia Lindley Center for the Performing Arts.
“LINC is not just about police, fire, or EMS,” he said. “It’s about the schools, the churches, the local government, and businesses. You just cannot discount the neat little place called Wellington, the people in it, or the work that’s done here.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.