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Oswego Mom Brings Drug Awareness Program to Town

Dec 06, 2016 11:15AM ● Published by Steven Jack

By Jon Davis

Most are aware of the heroin crisis that has troubled communities in suburban Chicago. Fewer might realize that the problem is also right here in Oswego, and is affecting growing numbers of young people.

To help spread substance abuse awareness, A Man in Recovery Foundation will host The Cop, The Convict, The Kids from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Oswego American Legion Hall. The program is free and open to all Oswego families, and will provide the knowledge and tools to help protect families from the sale and use of heroin and other addictive drugs.

The program carries special meaning for Oswego resident Robin Dale, whose son struggled with a nearly fatal heroin addiction for years before recovering. A lifelong Oswego resident and student of Oswego schools, he began drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana as a teenager. He later tried heroin and became addicted to it. His addiction resulted in four overdoses, two of which almost took his life.

Dale worked diligently with Tim Ryan, founder of A Man in Recovery Foundation (www.amirf.org), to bring the awareness program to Oswego.

“We’re losing kids to addiction in Oswego,” Dale said. “Villages such as Yorkville and Naperville have drug-education programs, but we haven’t offered one in five years. Oswego needs to know and accept that there’s a problem that must be addressed.”

Dale is forthcoming in sharing the experience that threatened her son and drove her to find out what she could to do save him.

“Back when my son was using, I never would have believed he’d do something like that,” she said. “I wasn’t seeing the signs because I just didn’t know what to look for. When I did find out, I was blindsided, and I didn’t have any education on how to deal with it.

“I realized I was contributing to the problem by keeping it a secret and failing to handle it correctly. I finally reached out for help and got him into an intensive treatment program that saved him. Addiction can strike anyone of any age anywhere.”

The Cop, The Convict, The Kids will feature three components in raising awareness of drug use and addiction. First, Naperville police officer Rich Wistocki will discuss how to combat a drug problem; use drug-use test kits in the home, as well as free web-based software that lets parents monitor their children’s cell-phone activity; and contact non–law enforcement agencies that can sweep a house for drugs if their presence is suspected.

Next, Ryan will discuss his personal story of how he went from being a successful Chicago executive to an alcohol and heroin addict. His problem led to divorce, the loss of his home and ultimately 14 months in prison, where he started his path to recovery.

He maintained his sobriety after being released, but he also learned his son was using heroin. His son died from it six months later. The death prompted Ryan to start the foundation. He is also the chief marketing officer for Banyan Treatment Center in Pompano Beach, Florida, where Dale’s son spent 11 months overcoming his addiction.

Lastly, two former addicts will share their stories of addiction that led to homelessness and jail. They will also describe what helped them get clean and what parents can look for in understanding how drugs are used, hidden and transported.

For more information about the program, call A Man in Recovery Foundation at 844-611-HOPE.

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