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Family Service Association of NEPA holds National Family Week Conference

Times Leader - 11/19/2022

Nov. 19--PLAINS TWP. -- Kyle Popish, Associate Addictions Counselor at Turning Points Alternative Living Solutions, was the keynote speaker at Friday's National Family Week Conference, sponsored by Family Service Association of NEPA.

The day-long conference was held at Mohegan Pennsylvania, and featured Popish's presentation -- "Don't Ride the Highs too High or the Lows too Low."

The 13th annual National Family Week Conference -- titled "The Never-Ending Pandemic-Substance Abuse In Your Community" -- was a David and Lillian Thalenfeld Family Life Series Program.

During the keynote speech, Popish discussed his story and path to sobriety. He shared how he uses mindfulness, the 12-step program, SMART recovery, and Eastern Philosophies to assist him in being his best self so he is capable of assisting others.

"In a world full of chaos, be life," he said.

The conference featured several break-out sessions, including:

--Your Role and How SAMHSA Can Support Prevention and Recovery Goals, presented by Jean Bennett, Ph.D., MSM, MSN, BSN, RN, Regional Administrator, SAMHSA.

--Trauma-Informed Substance Abuse Care (Part 1 of 2), presented by Dr. Megan Velo-Zorzi, Psy.D., M.Ed. Red Bird Mental Health.

This presentation discussed how to use trauma-informed care in the substance abuse population. The training provided an overview of substance abuse, including prevalence, presentation, and challenges. It also covered traumatic stress prevalence, causes, symptoms, and presentation. Information on co-morbidity, resources, and barriers to treatment will be discussed.

--Narcan Training: How to Save a Life, presented by Rachael Wydra, BSN, RN, Behavioral Health Nurse Consultant, PA Department of Health; Ryan Hogan, BA, Director, Luzerne & Wyoming Counties Drug & Alcohol Program. Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor. Certified Trauma Counselor.

During this training session, attendees learned about Naloxone (Narcan), its properties as a medication, and how it reverses overdoses in the body and brain. You will learn about the safety and efficacy of this life-saving medication.

--The Impact of Substance Abuse on Families, presented by Kori V. Britton, MS, Counselor, Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services, Inc.

--Trauma-Informed Substance Abuse Care (Part 2 of 2), presented by Dr. Megan Velo-Zorzi, Psy.D., M.Ed. Red Bird Mental Health.

--Preventing Suicide By Improving Health Outcomes, presented by Sean Gerow, MS, Chief Executive Officer, Family Service Association of NEPA.

This presentation focused on the aspects of the health continuum and how treating all aspects can lead to a Zero Suicide Community.

--Current Drug Trends Affecting Luzerne County and What's Being Done to Address the Problems, presented by Ryan Hogan, BA, Director, Luzerne & Wyoming Counties Drug & Alcohol Program, Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor, Certified Trauma Counselor.

This session discussed current drug trends affecting Luzerne County while looking at new and emerging trends throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additionally, the session provided an overview of national, statewide, and local initiatives to curb substance use disorders and the consequences that affect the individual, their families, and the community. Resources for individuals and families to access when they or their loved ones are impacted by substance use disorders will be provided.

--Healthy MOMs: It takes a village, presented by Maria Kolcharno, MSW, LSW, Director of Addictions Services, The Wright Center for Community Health and Marcella Garvin, MBA, Healthy MOMS Case Manager.

The Healthy MOMS (Maternal Opiate Medical Support) Program helps moms-to-be and their babies build a strong foundation to begin their lives in recovery. The program is a collaborative effort between like-minded community partners throughout Northeast Pennsylvania that brings together experts from healthcare, legal, housing, and social services organizations. This presentation provided a forum to discuss services available in our regions and the best practice to advocate and link moms to programs.

--Understanding & Treating Substance Abuse Disorders in the Veteran Population, presented by Stacey Marie Little, MA, Executive Director, Pyramid Healthcare Inc., Dallas Residential and Detox Treatment Facility.

This session discussed the unique needs of the Veteran population and the barriers they experience to accessing effective treatment services that address their needs and validate their experience. It also included an overview of the Military Therapy and Recovery Program at Pyramid Dallas Inpatient.

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.


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