By: Katie Sobiech
Here is our first story to give the broad overview from a Community Focus Group’s point of view.
We started with Community Health. Several groups work together to address broad health concerns for Summit County, including the Summit County Health Department, Austen Bio-Innovation Institute of Akron (ABIA), and others in the areas where they specialize. We didn’t know what we would find.
We quickly learned that diabetes is one of the largest health concerns in our area that is not very adequately addressed (as you will see in the following story). It is amazing that something that seems so common could be such a big problem.
Diabetes in Summit County is a very big issue and we as a community are very far from having an adequate response to it. Therefore the story didn’t take the shape we hoped it would. But, as one of my philosophy professors used to say, “It is better to know than not to know.” So, even though no one we could find has yet imagined a comprehensive response to diabetes in our community, here is the overview of what we know.
Everyone is affected by diabetes in one way or another. If you don’t have it, maybe a loved one or friend does.
Whether you suffer from diabetes, or a loved one does, it is a life-changing disease. From the dietary and lifestyle changes it demands to the mental toll it takes, it’s not easy to deal with.
Andre Broom, 52, is no longer homeless, but he often returns to the Haven of Rest Ministries to help others who are in a similar situation. Eric (below) says he doesn’t drink or do drugs, but ended up in a homeless shelter because of finances. Photos: Dale Dong
Jim is a homeless Vietnam vet who’s trapped in a Catch 22. He gets a pension each month, but due to extreme pain, he self-medicates using heroin, although he clarifies that he’s not strung out. And because he tests positive for illegal drugs, he can’t receive any pain management treatment through his veterans’ benefits. So he self-medicates and the cycle continues.
“They won’t manage my pain because I’m a drug addict,” says Jim (who requested that we not publish his real name due to some of his admitted activities). He gets his check each month, finds a hotel room for a week or two, then runs out of money and returns to the streets. And to places like a local homeless shelter, where we had the opportunity to speak with him and a number of residents.
By: Katie Sobiech
When hearing the words “drug abuse,” prescription drugs may not be one of the first things that come to mind, but the Summit County Community Partnership (SCCP) is aware that prescription drug abuse is a large and growing issue.
“We know that one of the fastest growing groups of addicted people are those who are using prescription drugs not prescribed for themselves in many cases,” Darryl Brake, Executive Director of the Summit County Community Partnership, said.
Research has shown that many individuals with the problem are abusing left-over pills from prescriptions for themselves or from friends or family.
“When we get prescription drugs, a lot of times they’re not used up and we’re healthy again. But some think it’s a good idea to hang onto those in case they have the problem again. The drug is then available. The problem with that is that those that are addicted to prescription drugs get them a number of different ways. One of which is from family and friends, either by asking for them or stealing them,” Brake explained.
By: Katie Sobiech
Last week, the Katie Couric Show, featured the topic of prescription drug addiction, bringing awareness to many.
Guests revealed how what starts as a doctor’s visit for pain or prescription medications can so easily spiral into heroin or other addictions, due to heroine being less expensive.
More and more attention is being brought to this issue, as well as the overall abuse of all kinds of drugs.
Whether it’s across the nation, or locally, coalitions are forming and people are coming together to bring awareness and find solutions to the drug issues plaguing our communities.
Posted in Health, Poverty
Tagged Addiction, Darryl Brake, Drug, drug abuse, drug problem, Health, Prescription drug, prescription drug addiction, SCCP, Substance abuse, Substance dependence, Summit County, United States, War on Drugs
By: Katie Sobiech
Something fresh and new is on the horizon for local, inner city communities and corner stores located in what are known as “food deserts”.
Believe it or not, food deserts do exist here in Akron.
Lack of fresh, healthy foods is an issue for many of our inner city communities. Just stop by any convenience store and you’ll see rows of candy, soda and other unhealthy items, while quality, whole foods are scarce. Akron Summit Community Action (ASCA), Let’s Grow Akron (LGA), Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) and other food-movement-minded groups and health conscious individuals have noticed this and taken action.
Some of their initiatives include the Taste it & Make it Series, Corner Store Project and Talks in the Garden. This all has brought healthy foods and education into blighted areas.
Posted in Food, Health, Sustainability
Tagged Akron, Akron-Summit Community Action, Convenience store, Food, Food desert, food deserts, Grocery store, healthy foods, LGA, United States