JOPLIN, Mo. — The ROCC Recovery and Outreach Center in Joplin are having a balloon release to remember those lost to overdose. And reminding those of us left behind to know the signs.
“Overdoses have increased by 30% in our state, in our city alone we are seeing a dramatic rise in opioid overdoses. A lot of it coming from the fentanyl influx into our area. We want to establish a safe place for people to come… and that’s what The ROCC is here to do. As you are letting your balloons go tonight, if you know somebody, who had an overdose, that you lost to an overdose or that survived an overdose. Please think of them as you let the balloon go.”Michelle Reeder, Ozark Center, Peer Support Specialist
This evenings balloon release was attended by people in recovery, families of those in recovery, Building Bridges group, The Good Dads Group, Peer Recovery Specialists, Ascent Recovery and others.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that overdose death is preventable. Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose. They come from all walks of life.INTERNATIONAL OVERDOSE AWARENESS DAY
What is The ROCC?
The ROCC Recovery and Outreach Center is something that Joplin has never seen before. It is another way to help people achieve success in long-term recovery organizers say.
We talked with Paula Donaldson when they opened earlier this year, 14th and South Main and she gave us a little more insight into what is happening. “It’s a drop-in center. It’s a program run by peers.”
FROM OUR JANUARY 2020 INTERVIEW: “It will help people who are affected by drugs and alcohol as well as mental health issues. It will be a safe place for them to come, a place where they can come and hold meetings participate in meetings that we have. We have photography classes, we have a sober yoga class on Sundays, we have other trainings and classes as well that are available.”
“This is going to be a peer-run facility. Therefore it’s non-clinical. But we will be able to get people in touch with help that they need, different resources and the help that they need. Because sometimes the systems are so difficult to navigate.”
Keep in mind this is not a religious organization. Paula goes on to say, “It is not faith based although some of our classes are faith based. But this is for the community and run by peers in the community.”
“A certified peer support specialist is someone who encourages and assists others who are suffering something that they have recoved from. And now they have taken classes and education and been certified by the state of Missouri.”
Jennifer Harris, the newly named manager of The ROCC is a certified peer support specialist, by definition, “a person with significant life-altering experience. This is also referred to as “lived experience“. These specialists support individuals with struggles pertaining to mental health, psychological trauma or substance use. Because of their lived experience, such persons have expertise that professional training cannot replicate.”