ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Several local foundations are teaming up to teach families about addiction intervention, to help their loved ones before they fall out of reach.
A special panel was held on Thursday at Changepoint Church, where several people shared their experiences with addiction.
"My daughter is an active heroin addict," REAL About Addiction Director Kim Whitaker said.
"I am in long-term recovery myself," REAL About Addiction Vice President David Molletti said.
Addiction does not discriminate. That's the lesson Karen Malcolm learned when she lost her son.
"In June of 2017, my son passed away from a heroin overdose," Malcolm said.
She took a year to cope with the pain, until she realized she wanted to help others save their loved ones if she could. So she founded the David Dylan Foundation, and organized Thursday’s forum.
"For those of you who have addiction in your family, I just want you to know that you're not alone," Malcolm said to a crowd of tearful spectators.
The forum is the first part of a three-part series meant to learn about intervention and structured family recovery from nationally acclaimed interventionists, Jeff and Debra Jay.
Jeff Jay has been working in the drug and alcohol field for over three decades. But before that, his family had to intervene in his own addictions.
"They got me initial tools for intervention,” Jay said. “They blazed a path into recovery for me."
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reports from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, Alaska emergency departments treated 375 overdoses.
The families at Thursday’s forum were there to make sure their loved ones don't become one of those statistics.
"To me this is one of the most important things probably that I'll ever do, because they're teaching us how we can raise the bottom for our loved ones," Malcolm said.
Upcoming panels are Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Curtis Menard Center in Wasilla, and Monday at 7 p.m. at the Wendy Williamson auditorium.
Follow this link for more information on how to register.