Imagine losing nine of your family members to a preventable illness. It may be difficult even to fathom, but for Pickerington, Ohio residents Mike and Diana Yoder, this nightmare was their reality. After experiencing the tragic losses of several beloved nieces, nephews, and a cousin to the opioid epidemic in about two years, the couple has made it their mission in life to fight the drug scourge that is killing countless Ohioans.
A Family Tragedy
The nine deaths in the Yoder’s family included a father and son who succumbed to the same addiction within ten days of one another. After the death of the father, the Yoders had begged his son to get help but were at a loss for what to do to help him. They firmly believe that if support had been more readily available and accessible, that at least some of their family members could have been saved.
Turning Grief Into Activism
Since experiencing addiction-related family tragedy, the Yoders have not allowed grief to keep them down. As of 2017, they are actively involved with the Columbus branch of the Addiction Policy Forum, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending the American drug and overdose epidemic. Diana helps by sourcing furniture and other supplies for recovery houses around Ohio while Mike is involved with local ministries, training pastors to play an active role in ending the opioid crisis.
“When this issue faced our family very personally and came knocking on our door, we thought it happened to everyone else’s family,” said Diana Yoder in a recent video interview. “Remember that addiction and drug addiction can affect anyone. The stigma of someone under a bridge with a needle in their arm is no longer acceptable. [Addiction] crosses every professional boundary, every financial boundary, every walk of life — no one is exempt.”
The Yoders’ goal is to educate individuals and families about addiction and help connect them to the care they need to recover while reducing the stigma and judgment faced by people struggling with substance abuse. “We have to find these families, and we have to help them with the resources that they need. Many of them struggle in silence,” Diana Yoder said. “There are solutions, and there are resources.”
If you or a loved one is struggling in the throes of drug or opioid addiction, please know that you are not alone and help is available. Ohio drug rehab is just a phone call away. Our fully trained and experienced staff is standing by to give you the information and help you need to start the road to a happier, healthier life. With our help, a full recovery from addiction is possible, but you have to be willing to take that first step. Please, contact us today and start your recovery journey with us. It is not too late!
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