WARSAW — Kosciusko County native Mickey Ashpole will be hosting a Town Hall meeting at 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at Warsaw City Hall, 102 S. Buffalo St., Warsaw, to start a community discussion about drug addiction.
Representatives from Bowen Center, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, Warsaw Police Department along with Michelle Merrit, executive director of Trek Recovery; Kim Kelley, Serenity House in Fort Wayne; Lutheran Foundation; Dr. Debra McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner; and Dr. Gregory Eigner, associate program director for Fort Wayne Medical Education Program scheduled to participate. Also participating is Kristina Johnson, director of community initiatives for Lutheran Foundation.
Denny Wilson, from Warsaw Community Church, will moderate.
“In this area there are very limited resources (for treatment). There are no medical detox centers in Indiana,” said Ashpole, a recovering addict and outreach coordinator for Satori Waters, an addiction recovery center in Florida.
Ashpole said drug addicts can be sent to the psych ward of the local hospital, but the ward isn’t set up to deal with someone with addiction issues. “That’s the only avenue to be safe,” he said.
Ashpole noted heroin is becoming a health crisis and in some areas it’s being cut with fentanyl, a type of pain medication. Mixing both drugs can be deadly. “I don’t want the problem to escalate here (the Kosciusko County community),” he said. “The stigma of what an addict looks like… That’s something no one wants to talk about.
There are no socio-economic boundaries for addiction.”
He explained he was trying to get the conversation started about what is going on in regards to addiction in the community. “I want to help the community… I want to give back to it,” he said realizing he took from the community for a number of years while battling his own addiction.
Ashpole said one idea he would like to see the community explore is Police Assisted Recovery Initiatives. “If someone addicted walks into a police station asking for help, that person would be paired up with a treatment center,” he explained. “Every police officer I’ve talked to says we’re not arresting ourselves out of this problem.”
“There are different ways to get sober. Trek Limitless Recovery is an organization that provides recovery coaches. There’s a lot of different ways through it. I just want the community to have as many resources as possible, ” Ashpole said. He started drinking at age 14, then at age 16 he was injured in a car accident and prescribed pain killers. He sought recovery at Satori Waters, located in Florida, to get away from the people, places and things that played a role in his addiction.
Refreshments will be provided. Ashpole is funding the event on his own.