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Wheeler to Honor Memory of Those Lost to Addiction

Photo (c) go-media

Photo (c) go-media

Wheeler’s Connecticut Clearinghouse will host a community quilting event entitled, “Gone, But Not Forgotten,” on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon to honor the memory of those lost to substance use disorders, including opioid addiction.

This event is part of a statewide Remembrance Quilt initiative—recently launched by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services — to honor loved ones who have died from substance use disorders or addiction. This event is one of several happening statewide. Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer of Wheeler Clinic, will welcome attendees. DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., will be in attendance and will offer opening remarks, and local elected officials have been invited to attend.

“Substance use disorders and addiction affect individuals and families from all walks of life and can have devastating effects,” said Judith Stonger, MA, CPS, CARC, vice president of Prevention, Wellness and Recovery, Wheeler. “This event is an opportunity for individuals and families to come together to remember their loved ones in a warm, nurturing environment and raise awareness for these critical challenges, while also reducing stigma.”

“The Remembrance Quilt is not only a way for people to honor their loved ones whom they lost to addiction, but it will continue to raise awareness about the possible deadly consequences of this disease,” said Commissioner Delphin-Rittmon. “By contributing a square in honor of somebody they lost to addiction, families and friends can send a message that no one is alone. That if you lost someone to addiction, there are others who share your grief, and for those who are actively using, you are loved, recovery is possible and help is available.”

Participants will create a square in honor of their loved one, which eventually will be added to The Remembrance Quilt. Supplies will be provided; however, participants may bring their own supplies as well, including a photo of their loved one, preferably on a flash drive.

Wheeler staff and local community volunteers will be on hand to guide all activities and help bring ideas to fruition. Participants also may come to the event with a pre-made square. Instructions for creating squares can be found here, or accessed through the DMHAS website here: www.ct.gov/dmhas/notforgotten.

Squares collected at each event will be joined together by quilting groups, communities of quilters who have donated their time and talent to this effort. The quilts will be displayed across Connecticut to pay tribute to those who died and help raise awareness of substance use disorders and addiction.

Every year, approximately 570,000 people die from a substance use disorder in the United States. A report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found that 729 people died of accidental drug intoxication, or overdose, in Connecticut in 2015. For 2016, it is projected that the number of deaths from accidental overdoses in Connecticut will rise to approximately 900.

Quilting events held throughout the state are open to the public. People also may participate by submitting completed squares to DMHAS. For more information about the quilt and how to participate, as well as a list of quilting events, please visit the DMHAS website at www.ct.gov/dmhas/notforgotten.

All are welcome to the event on February 25, but should register at www.wheelerclinic.org/notforgotten or by calling 800.232.4424.

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