BY BARBARA ANNE GREENE
With the opioid epidemic in America including small towns like those in the Big Horn Basin, recovery is an important topic for everybody because of the consequences of the epidemic. Creating a recovery-ready community is one of the first steps.
Coreen Braden, formerly of Basin, will be returning to town to educate and hopefully help organize a chapter of Young People in Recovery (YPR). She will be at the Basin Library Thursday, July 25 from 4-6 p.m.
The daughter of Fay Smith of Shell, Braden moved to Basin when she was young and attended school there from kindergarten through her senior year in 1999. She currently resides in Denver and has two sons.
“I was a person that always experimented with substance use,” she said. “Later in life, God led me to be involved with YPR.”
She has worked for them for three years. YPR’s mission is to provide the life skills and peer supports that young people need to thrive and be successful in long-term recovery from substance use disorders.
YPR was founded in 2010 by a group of young people (aged 18-30) in recovery who wanted to help others. Their programs were designed for young people but serve individuals of every age. Braden said they also work to create recovery ready communities and to break stigmas around recovery.
“Seeking recovery is possible with the help of recovery ready communities. Most often people resort back to substance use, get in trouble for that use and it becomes a downhill spiral. Together we can make a stand and break the stigma associated with recovery,” Braden said.
She said she is also concerned about the lack of knowledge and understanding by legislators, law enforcement, and pharmacists about Narcan, as well as the general public. Narcan is an opioid antagonist used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression. It can also be used for blood pressure support in septic shock.
Narcan is typically prescribed to anyone who uses certain types of opioids — for example a fentanyl patch. It is used for pain management for people of all ages. There is a misunderstanding that Narcan is just needed for opioid abuse but any person on these types of painkillers should have Narcan available to them. Some medical professionals require their patients to have it.
The Wyoming Department of Health has a grant program regarding Narcan. The application for the grant reads, “The Wyoming Grant to Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths (PDO) is a five-year grant from Sept. 30, 2016, to Sept. 29, 2021. The purpose of the grant is to train first responders and bystanders on recognizing and responding to opioid overdoses as well as distributing naloxone (also known as Narcan).
“The Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division, has entered into an agreement with Adapt Pharma, Inc., the sole manufacturer of FDA-approved intranasal naloxone spray, to provide Wyoming entities with Narcan® Nasal Spray 4 mg.”
Braden will discuss the following topics at the July 25 meeting: Preparing for a Recovery Ready Community; Learning How to Celebrate Recovery and Break the Stigma about Recovery from Substance Abuse; Overdose Reversals with Narcan; Questions and Answers.
Braden was planning to come to Basin for her 20-year class reunion and was asked by Basin librarian Alice Davidson to have the meeting. Braden’s mom is married to Alice’s dad Ed. So she was aware of the work Braden was doing in Denver.
Braden said it is her hope that the meeting will have some great results including educating legislators, law enforcement, first responders and the general public. She also hopes that someone in the area will open an YPR chapter here.
“This would have to be on a volunteer basis at the cost of the chapter expense paid by YPR. The person(s) will hold recovery meetings, different workshops and recovery support service events. Once they have established they are willing to do the work the YPR National will help write a grant so the person(s) will get paid and funding to pay for events will continue.”