Quincy Thompson of the United Way and Shane Manson of Families of Addicts pose together after a recent donation. (Photo submitted)
Quincy Thompson of the United Way and Shane Manson of Families of Addicts pose together after a recent donation. (Photo submitted)

VAN WERT – Van Wert resident Shane Manson, like many, has seen the effects opiates can have on a family. While trying to seek resources for families who are dealing with another family member addicted to opiates, Manson realized there wasn’t much available. Today, he has partnered with Families of Addicts (FOA) to bring a support group to Van Wert.

Manson explained that his daughter has been struggling with addiction to opiates for the past four years off and on.

“When I started this with her four years ago, it was like trying to find a needle in a hay stack trying to get information,” said Manson.

Manson explained that it took him two and a half days to find his daughter immediate help.

“Last July I kept saying, ‘there’s got to be something more out there to help families,’” said Manson. “There’s a lot of things for the addicts themselves but there’s not a lot to help the families of those struggling.”

Manson researched organizations that were family oriented. This lead him to the discovery of FOA.

“They were started four years ago in Dayton by a person named Lori Erion with six people and a box of Twizzlers,” said Manson. “This past August, on their fourth rally in Dayton, they had over 2,500 people there. They are making a difference.”

Manson explained that FOA has helped over 7,000 people in the past four years. Currently FOA has meetings in Dayton, Greenville, Troy, Sidney, and Springfield, and Van Wert will be the sixth city to join.

Manson plans to start the meetings Jan. 11, 2018 at the Council on Aging Senior Center. The meetings will continue every Thursday. Meetings will typically run an hour and a half, and there may sometimes be a speaker. Other times, it may be a meeting where group members talk about what situations they are currently going through.

“We’re trying to get rid of the stigma; we don’t agree with what they (the addicts) are doing, but they are still humans,” said Manson. “We were basically looking for group that could expand into Van Wert so that families could have a place to go to let off steam, let off stress, and ask questions.”

FOA meetings are for entire families, including parents, addicts, and even little kids, said Manson.

Families of Addicts is a non-profit organization and was recently given a donation of $3,900 from United Way of Van Wert County from their New Initiative Fund, which provides money to a new project or program. The program is volunteer ran, and currently the only volunteers are Manson and his wife, Jennifer. Manson is looking for more volunteers. If a person is interested in volunteering they should contact Manson at foa.shanem@gmail.com or call him at 419-203-0200.

“At some point I hope we’re not needed anymore,” said Manson. ‘“That would be the ultimate goal, but until then this is what we’re trying to do.”