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How Tennessee Day of Hope aims to prevent substance abuse and suicide

Memphis Area Prevention Collision (MAPC) gathered at St. John’s United Methodist Church, where people could learn how to reverse an opioid overdose with Narcan.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Friday, an organization formed to combat substance abuse is honoring Tennessee Day of Hope, an effort to inspire and help those struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Gov. Bill Lee proclaimed March 10, 2023, as Day of Hope, urging communities to get involved.

“It’s really a statewide celebration of hope for people to recover, and to even be educated about mental health and substance use disorder,” said Lincoln Coffman, Lifeline Peer Project Regional Director for MAPC.

Memphis Area Prevention Collision (MAPC) gathered at St. John’s United Methodist Church, where people could learn how to reverse an opioid overdose, administer Narcan, and learn more about addition and suicide prevention.

“We just opened our doors to the public so that they can come in and we can introduce ourselves and explain what we do and just try and serve the community better,” said Coffman. “We basically share our stories and our stories of recovery, and we try to help direct people to services that are available.”

Since the beginning of this year, Memphis Police's Heroin Overdose Response Team has investigated 120 opioid-related overdoses and 23 possible deaths.

“What we want people to know is that we are advocating for people who cannot advocate for themselves. This is a community that nobody prays for, that nobody advocates for,” said Sam Tubikh, Viral Hepatitis and HIV Prevention Coordinator, MAPC. “Not only do we supply them with clean injecting supplies, we also get the dirties off the street. We provide Narcan. We provide testing. We have treatment representatives on site for when they are ready. We build relationships. The whole point of harm reduction is that we’re meeting them where they’re at.”

“We want them to know that, you know, there is hope regardless. I’m a person of long-term recovery, you know. April 14 I’ll be celebrating 14 years and I too stood at that turning point where I didn’t know if I want to live. I don’t know what I wanted to do with my life and somebody told me there is hope for me and I believe them,” said Arsania Wright, Recovery Navigator/Faith Based Coordinator for State of Tennessee.

“Today really comes back to hope - and that can be that there’s hope for people with mental health issues. That’s hope for people with substance-abuse issues. That’s hope for people who have family members and friends with those issues. There’s hope that these diseases don’t have to kill. There’s hope for recovery. Recovery has to start with keeping people alive first and foremost. As long as someone still alive they still have a chance,” said David Fuller, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist, MAPC.

Learn more about MPAC at https://memphisprevention.org/.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call the substance abuse and mental health services administration at 1-800-662-HELP.

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