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Monthly Archives: January 2014

On Martin Luther King Day: What would you like your legacy to be?

MLK dayTo me MLK day is a day of remembrance, refection and action. Growing up as a teenager in the 1960’s, even though I was young and lived a sheltered life, I remember the Civil Rights Movement. I can recall watching TV and listening to my uncles who would gather under a tree sipping on juice after a long day’s work and discuss the Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was a confusing time for me not being able to understand why I, or anyone else, had to be subjected to different standards because of the color of their skin or just because they were different. 

As I grew older and was introduced to my environment and reading about MLK the man and his beliefs, I came to the realization that he was not just an ordinary person. He had the perseverance to bring or the ability to help “change” come about. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatness “Change Agents” to walk the face of the earth.   MLK was not only for Civil Rights issues but he fought peacefully for all social injustice. He was loved and respected throughout the world. He was a selfless person. He gave all he had of himself and his life to better mankind.

Like MLK, today I truly feel blessed to be a foot soldier for the Drug & Recovery Community. My life is now dedicated to giving back and advocating for stigma reduction, public policy issues, treatment, prevention and recovery support services, for individuals with drug and alcohol addiction and for their family members. 

Today I feel just as MLK, that there are still too many causes for one to advocate for or to speak out about in this world.  For one to live their life without speaking on a cause is a life wasted.  As I’ve become older I sometimes think about what I would like my legacy to be.  There are many quotes used from MLK, today for me it’s from“The Drum Major Instinct”. 

 “If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say…I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”  -Excerpt from the MLK speech “The Drum Major Instinct” (1968). 

What would you like your legacy to be?

Fred Martin, a person in long term recovery
PRO-ACT Philadelphia Project Coordinator

Looking for an opportunity to volunteer on MLK day of service?  Join PRO-ACT in revitalizing the streets of Lehigh Avenue.  Click here for details.

Intervention: A Process Not an Event

InterventionA number of callers to our Information and Recovery Support Line immediately ask about intervention.  

The conversation sometimes begins like this: 

Caller: “I need an intervention right away! Can you send someone over?”  

Understandably, families feel desperate about their loved one’s situation and have very legitimate fears for the person’s safety. Many hope that we might swoop in, quickly convince the identified person that he or she needs help, and whisk them off to treatment.  Even if this was possible, it may not lead to the desired outcomes.  Intervention relies on the power of a group of people who are important to the person with the substance use disorder.  While a trained interventionist can provide education, support, and guidance to the group, relying solely on an outsider to come and “fix the problem” may help in the short-term but is likely not sustainable.  

Intervention is a process, not an event.  During this process, family members and others who care about the person with the substance use disorder become more educated about the disease of addiction, providing them with a common base of information.  Intervention team members are assisted in identifying their own role in both the addiction and in ways they can support recovery.    

Treatment is not the end but may be part of the beginning of recovery.   Family, friends, and co-workers, as well as the individual, need to learn and practice new ways of living and interacting in recovery.  In many ways, the intervention team has to be as open to change as they would like the identified person to be.  The hope of the intervention process is that it will motivate the person with the substance use disorder to seek help, but in the process, the team members themselves gain valuable information and support and are positively changed by having participated.  

If you are a family member, friend, or co-worker thinking about doing an intervention, we encourage you to first attend the PRO-ACT Family Education Program,  

If you are interested in training to become an interventionist who helps others to orchestrate interventions using the National Intervention Network model, information about our upcoming Interventionist Training can be found at

Stacey A. Conway, PhD.
Director of Evaluation & Outcomes
The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc.

Unintentional Drug Overdoses: An unfortunate trend affecting all communities and what you can do.

opiates-abuseBucks County and the rest of the Country continues to battle the escalating problem of Prescription Medication and Heroin abuse. Heroin is no longer an “inner city drug”. It has made its way into all of our suburbs and it appears it is not leaving anytime soon despite law enforcements vigilant efforts. For people aged 25-64, more die from drug overdose than car crashes. In October of this year, 63 people in Bensalem, Pa., overdosed on opiate/opioid drugs. Recently, the Trust for America’s Health released a report which found Pennsylvania has the 14th highest rate of drug overdose deaths. This report also noted that Pennsylvania had 15.3 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents in 2010 and most of those deaths involved the use of prescription drugs.

Here in Bucks County there were 136 drug-related deaths(documented by DAWN). Of these deaths, opioids were the number one cause of drug-related deaths with heroin being specified in half of the deaths. Furthermore it was documented that more than 50% of the deaths were people under the age of 34. Nationally, drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug overdose deaths have jumped 102-percent from 1999 to 2010 and as of the last reporting in 2010, 60-percent of those deaths were related to pharmaceuticals.  The CDC also found that of the 38,329 overdose deaths in 2010 that involved pharmaceuticals, 75-percent involved some form of opioid.

So what do prescription opiate pharmaceuticals and heroin have in common? They are both opiates and both have a very high potential for dependency and addiction as well posing very serious health risks such as overdose. Many young people begin experimenting with prescription medications and move to heroin due to the high cost associated with pharmaceuticals. Here is an informational brochure on Heroin and one on Prescription Medications. Also find out how and where to safely and legally dispose of your unused / unwanted prescription medications here

The Overdose Prevention and Education Advisory Board invites you to come out and find out what is being done in both Bucks  County as well as state wide regarding opiate drug use and the rise in overdoses. Attending will allow you to be part of not only the conversation but learn how you can be part of the solution. We will be meeting monthly at various locations throughout Bucks County for convenience of the communities. By attending, you are not required to attend future monthly meetings although you are always welcome. If you are interested in becoming a member, membership only means that you will receive monthly e-mails regarding issues related to overdoses and opioid drug use. The Task Force is also forming sub-committee’s based on areas of interest and professional experience. We welcome everyone to participate; community members, law enforcement, recovery services, medical providers, pharmacists, persons in recovery, etc.

 Task Force goals include but are not limited to:

  • Educating others on the topic and saving lives. Outreach and education creates partnerships that may then focus on other initiatives or strategies.
  • Promoting awareness and encouraging further action.  Actions may include getting the word out and gaining support for legislative actions such as Senator Pileggis HB 1164 – Good Samaritan Act.

 Please feel free to contact David Fialko with any and all questions at 215-230-8218 x 316

Our next meeting is January 22, 2014 and is being hosted by:
Livengrin – The Foundation For Addiction Recovery:  Oxford Valley
195 Bristol-Oxford Valley Rd.
Langhorne, PA  19047
Meeting time: 6:00 pm to 7:30pm
Food and beverages will be provided

This program is made possible by funding through the Bucks County Drug Alcohol Commission, Inc.

 * SAMHSA and the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality  National Surveys on Drug Use and Health

David Fialko, BS
Prevention Specialist

Bailiwick Office Campus Unit 12, 252 West Swamp Rd. Doylestown, PA 18901 | 215.345.6644


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