the key to ending the stigma of drug addiction – Daily Bulldog


JAY – The Love Lock fence in Jay, Maine has generated a sense of community for families who have lost loved ones. The project is in memory of families who have lost someone to a drug overdose, domestic violence or suicide. Erica Poland is the founder of this community initiative, and the program began on her path to the recovery of her addicted family member. “It became my passion then to do something about overdose awareness and ending the stigma. To understand what problem it is in our region. So I decided to start the Love Lock fence right in front of my house.

Patience Merchant hangs an overdose awareness flag above the Love Lock fence on Jay.

Poland has added to the project since launching it a few months ago, with only two sides, but has now become more inclusive, hoping to create awareness of all kinds of losses in our communities. wherever they happen, ”When I finished the domestic violence and overdose sections, I decided I wasn’t done yet,” Poland explains. She added a section for children who died from infant death syndrome and suicide. Poland knows that its work is not yet finished and will continue to enrich the project beyond the victims. Anyone who has lost someone and wants to remember them can leave a padlock.

The community has grown so much that there are locks from as far away as California, but the hope is that more people will come and contribute.

From left to right, sections of the fence are devoted to overdose awareness, infant loss awareness and suicide awareness.

By tackling negative stigma and sharing her own experiences, Poland reminds us that “their family still loves them and they always deserve a memorial.” It’s easy to have a negative mindset about overdose victims, but thanks to the Nar-Anon program, Poland has dramatically changed the way it thinks and hopes that with this initiative others will do too. same. “One of my biggest statements is to be kind. You never know what someone is up against.

Poland now hosts its own Nar-Anon and Nar-Anon-teen meetings, and encourages people to contact it if they need help or are looking for a community. Nar-Anon speaks to the family of the addict who has been affected by the addiction. Poland talks about his own experience with Nar-Anon: “I thought if I fought hard enough I could fix it, but I quickly learned that Nar-Anon was for me. Nar-Anon was for me to fix myself.

Erica Poland and Brysen Merchant installed the first lock for Brysen’s uncle, Dakotah Poland, who died of SIDS in 2006.

This is just the start for Poland, and she hopes the community will participate and raise awareness.

To get involved in the project and leave your own padlock on the fence, you can contact us on the Facebook group, or go to the place and leave it but watch out for overgrown bushes! The fence is located at 61 Main Street, Jay Maine 04239, and padlocks can be mailed to the address to be placed on the fence.

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