11/23/2015 – 4:00 am
This is the last part of a series highlighting many aspects of drug use, enforcement of drug laws and treatment that community members and authorities in Hancock County face.
For the past fourteen weeks, the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy has been conducting seminars which covered all aspects of chemical dependency and addiction, and how it has affected Findlay and Hancock County. The seminars featured representatives from law enforcement and the criminal justice system, scholars, researchers, and testimonials from individuals who have been inflicted with the disease of addiction. Sponsored by the Hancock ADAMHS Board and the University of Findlay, the seminars were led by Dr. Michael Milks, Professor of Pharmacy. Milks said that the course was created as a way to educate the students on risks and dangers associated with chemical dependency and addiction.
“In addition to that, it is a community service offered with no charge to the public to come in for any of the talks at all or to participate in the discussion.” said Milks
The content of the individual sessions varied week after week, but Milks said that he was amazed at the response of the debate on the marijuana legalization issue. That particular session was held before the election and Milks said that he found people were adamantly for or against the issue.
“We had a mother-daughter team who had a somewhat of a debate discussing pros and cons of Issue 3. And boy, passions run deep one way or another. There was nobody that I talked to that was middle of the road.” said Milks.
Milks said that when people begin to study addiction, when they begin to learn about how much it can affect people, many times they approach it believing that addicts possess a moral failing, that they do not have the willpower to not be tempted by drugs or alcohol, when in reality addiction is a disease that can slowly gain a foothold into a person’s life.
“Just say no. How hard is that? Just don’t start doing drugs. So clearly there is some antecedent behavior that leads people down that tortuous route but I think it’s useful to remember that not only is it a disease but that it is a fatal disease if left untreated.” said Milks
Several individuals told personal stories of their struggles with addiction. In doing so, participants could see that chemical dependency would inflict people of all walks of life. Successful businessmen, professional practitioners, students, mothers, fathers, and children. Many times addiction would manifest itself simply because there were opportunities available. Milks noted that this was important to remember.
“Very successful businessmen and professionals, none of us are immune to it. But it was a message of hope ultimately to bring were successful up to this point in their recovery.” said Milks.
Ultimately, Milks said that he hoped that the seminars helped to open minds and educate people about how far reaching addiction can be and how it can take hold of people.
“I think that one fact that seemed to hit most people with a certain amount of amazement was that it’s predictable that an addict will relapse on his or her way to ultimate recovery.” said Milks.
And when that happens, Milks said those around them need to be ready to understand and help people as they struggle to live in their recovery. The Chemical Dependency Seminars were sponsored by The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, the Hancock County ADAMHS Board, The Hancock County Community Partnership and the Hancock County Opiate Task Force.
Listen below for our complete interview with Dr. Milks.
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