Families Against Narcotics launches Detroit chapter

By: Nick Mordowanec | Advertiser Times | Published February 14, 2020

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DETROIT — The newest Families Against Narcotics chapter recently was launched in Michigan’s biggest city.

On Feb. 10, the grassroots Families Against Narcotics, or FAN, celebrated Detroit’s first chapter within its city limits. It is now one of 23 chapters statewide, with another four chapters to commence by this summer.

FAN has been an instrumental community organization in the realm of recovery from addiction, aiding not only those who suffer from substance abuse, but also family members who are affected by proxy. Numerous community supporters and volunteers have contributed to the program’s success over the years.

The new Detroit chapter, located in the heart of downtown on Grand River Avenue, was a natural evolution of sorts. As FAN Executive Director Linda Davis acknowledged, the need in the city was always there, but often it takes making connections to get the ball rolling.

She said the same process occurred in Traverse City. Discussion transpired between residents and volunteers, but it took a local judge to fit the pieces together and discover the right combination of people working to make a difference.

David Clayton, FAN’s regional director and outreach coordinator, communicated with Detroit’s recovery community, the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network and the Rev. Horace Sheffield III, CEO of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations — who is now the president of Detroit’s FAN chapter.

The process for finding board members and getting a chapter off the ground usually takes four to six months, Davis said, but Sheffield “put together a very strong board” swiftly, and the launch only took about 1 1/2 months.

“David (Clayton) was somewhere and heard (Sheffield) speak,” she said. “(Sheffield) said they needed (a chapter) in Detroit. Detroit has been hit very hard in this epidemic.”

Clayton called it “a big step in the right direction” — a moment bred from communications made over a long period of time.

“We’re looking forward to making a difference and hope this will open the door for us to expand our Hope Not Handcuffs program into the city,” he said.

Davis said “it takes effort and time in the community to really convince people it’s a safe place they can come” without fear of being belittled or condemned.

People fighting addiction and those near to them helped by the cause, but FAN offers services that are free and provide long-term results.

Sheffield’s mission as board president mirrors that of presidents of the two dozen other statewide chapters.

“Our goal is to provide healing to our communities by spreading the message of hope in recovery to our friends, families, and allies,” Sheffield said. “We align with FAN’s overall mission to educate, put a face and voice to recovery, and eliminate the stigma of addiction.”

Meetings will be held at the Sheffield Center Complex, 12000 W. Grand River Ave. in Detroit, on the second Monday of every month.