More than 109,000 people lost their lives to an overdose in the United States last year, according to provisional data from the CDC. This includes over 2,900 people right here in the state of New Jersey.
On August 31 – International Overdose Awareness Day – we remember our loved ones lost to an overdose, and we commit to spreading the message that there is hope for recovery.
At the Market Street Mission and Jersey Shore Rescue Mission, our free, long-term Life Change Program provides support for men struggling with substance abuse so they can recover from their addictions, rebuild their lives, and set the foundation for a healthy, sober future.
“We all know that opioids have become a huge pandemic,” says Patrick Tansey, Clinical and Outreach Director at the Mission. “A lot of the men that come to the Mission have experienced overdoses; it’s such a devastating thing that affects so many people. But there is help out there. Narcan kits and training are pretty accessible, so please reach out to us if you want any more information. We want to reduce stigma. We all need help at some times in our life, and on this day especially we just want to remember the loved ones that we’ve lost to this horrible disease. But there is hope out there.”
Addiction does not discriminate, and substance abuse affects people of all backgrounds and life circumstances. At the Mission, clients span a wide age range and face a large array of addictions. Its Life Change Program is structured to help men heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by understanding the reasons behind their addictions and how to replace them with healthy behaviors. Through components like work therapy, counseling, AA/NA recovery meetings, chapel services, educational development in our Learning Center, and a final phase of classroom instruction, residents are equipped to escape the dangers of drug use and overdose and instead to pursue lives of long-term sobriety.
Russell, a Life Change Program graduate, first came to the Mission because of his own overdose experience: “I always wanted help, I just didn’t know how to go about doing it. It took an overdose on drugs for me to change my course in life. That’s why I know God is working in my life, because after talking to the doctor, he said the way I overdosed, most people wouldn’t have recovered. From that moment, I knew I had to make a conscious decision to change. What gravitated me to the Mission was seeing a pamphlet that said, ‘changing your life.’ When I got here, I was welcomed. Anything I needed, it was here. If I follow my way it’s not going to work, so I let God lead me – and wherever He leads me, He’s always going to give me what I need. I’m thankful to be here,” Russell explains.
On International Overdose Awareness Day, The Mission recognizes the devastation that substance abuse causes, but also celebrates the people like Russell who are walking the path of recovery.
If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out to the Market Street Mission (9 Market Street, Morristown, NJ) at 973-538-0431 or www.marketstreet.org; the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission (701 Memorial Drive, Asbury Park, NJ) at 732-988-0242 or www.jsrescue.org; or the Market Street Mission – Sussex County (274 Spring Street, Newton, NJ) at 973-538-5854 or www.marketstreet.org/sussex. Programs are completely free.
The Market Street Mission and Jersey Shore Rescue Mission are an experienced organization with a proven method of helping to fight alcoholism, substance abuse, hunger, and homelessness in northern and central New Jersey. As a private non-profit we rely on the charitable support of compassionate donors to provide more than 120,000 meals and 40,000 nights of shelter per year across our three locations. For more information on our emergency services, free addiction recovery program, community counseling services and thrift stores please visit us at www.marketstreet.org or www.jsrescue.org.