Rotary Club
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Meeting December 13, 2016
President Jaclyn Adams presided over the meeting. Thanks to Gene Owens who gave the invocation and to Brett Phillips who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thanks also to Gene Owens and Chrissy Cullinane-Yelverton who served as our greeters today.
Tracie Flower noted...
...that we have no visiting Rotarians. Stephen Moore with Congressman Steven Palazzo’s office is attending.
Jaclyn thanked Toxie Morris for capturing an excellent picture of the Treble Makers from last week’s program. She also recognized Dr. Faye Gilbert who has an excellent article in this issue of the Mississippi Business Journal.
Volunteers are needed to fill four upcoming vacancies on the board of directors. Volunteers are also needed for other Rotary tasks. If you are interested in a leadership position, please see Jaclyn.
Aaron Ladner thanked members for brining toys for Christian Services’ Party for Jesus. He noted that many of the children who attend will only get one toy this Christmas and it will be one a Rotarian brought. He also thanked those who brought Teddy Beans for Kids Hub.
Paula Brahan noted that the club is looking for a site to hold the Fleet Sale during the first quarter of 2017. If anyone has a contact with a business or a church that might be willing to provide the space at no cost, please let her know soon.
Mike Ratliff then introduced today’s guest speaker, James Moore. James is the owner of Moore’s Bicycles and has been for the past 32 years. He also is involved in many community projects and also served as a council member for the City of Petal.
James began his presentation by reporting that he found his son unresponsive after an overdose of heroin in 2015. He vowed to use Jeff’s death to do what he can to bring awareness of the addiction struggle. His son first admitted the addiction in 2014. He went to a five day detox program which helped. During the next few weeks it became apparent that the addition was returning. He went through a sixty day program and was found unresponsive just eight days after leaving that program.
James says we all need to realize that addition is a disease not a moral failure. It is now an epidemic in the United States causing more deaths last year than automobile accidents for the first time in history. He also noted that addition is complicated. There is no one medicine that can cure the program. Often the addition has underlying emotional or mental issues that must also be resolved. Many addicts feel the shame of their addiction and the negative impacts it has on them, their family and others they come in contact with. Modern society doesn’t help by tagging those with addictions to many negative comments and titles. Often this shame causes a delay in seeking treatment which often results in death. Most addicts hate themselves for what their addiction does.
What can we do to help? James says always remember that an addict will relapse. Don’t be angry and do “just leave” them. Continue to share your love and support every day and always keep communications open. Eliminate as many conflicts as possible. Let them know that you know that they struggle much more than anyone else just to get up and get to work or school without falling prey to their addiction.
Offend them with concern but don’t ignore the problem. Take action. Stand with your loved one and share understanding. Take steps to remove sources of harm for them. Lock your prescriptions up securely and know the signs of an overdose and James says keep Narcan™ handy. Narcan™ (naloxone) is an opiate antidote. Opioids include heroin and prescription pain pills like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin. When a person is overdosing on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop and it can very hard to wake them from this state. This drug is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. It cannot be used to get a person high. If given to a person who has not taken opioids, it will not have any effect on him or her, since there is no opioid overdose to reverse.
Two Hattiesburg doctors have standing prescriptions for the drug. Anyone who knows an addict, is working with an addict or is an addict can fill the prescription. They are available at Fred’s Pharmacy on Highway 49 South and at the CVS Pharmacy at the corner of Hardy and Highway 49.
James hopes to see local doctors, lawyers and community leaders who are willing to put a billboard up stating that they are a recovering addict. He says the community needs to know more about the epidemic. He encourages everyone to speak openly about addiction.
There are many resources available to anyone interested. Search via the Internet for Why Don’t They Just Quit. You will find a large number of resources. James also recommends the book It’s Chemistry Not Character for a better understanding of the problems an addict if faced with. Chasing the Scream is another publication that is a good resource.
Hattiesburg has at least three Oxford Houses. These are homes where recovering addicts can live and share the costs of living giving them a much better chance of recovery. You can learn more about this effort by visiting