Library notes: Library programs to address opiate addiction

Approximately 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017, according to The New York Times.

That’s roughly the equivalent of every individual in Seneca County and most of Wyandot County — gone.

The statistic is startling, but we cannot afford to forget that we are talking about individual lives. The victims were each someone’s friend, neighbor, grandchild, and co-worker. Opioid addiction was a driving force behind many of their deaths, and opiates remain a scourge deep into 2018.

Tiffin-Seneca Public Library wants to help raise awareness and build community as Seneca County continues its own fight against these drugs. That’s why, thanks to funds provided by the Tiffin-Seneca Library Foundation, we have decided to bring Sam Quinones to speak to the public Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Marion Center on Tiffin University’s campus. Mr. Quinones is the author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic and a passionate advocate for communities coming together in order to turn the tide in this deadly battle. We also are sponsoring an opiate awareness resource fair at the venue beginning at 5:30 p.m.

When the library selects our annual foundation speaker, we normally do not build a series of programs around his or her presentation. However, since addressing the opioid crisis is so vital to our community, we have scheduled a series of related events in October and November. We thank the many Seneca County first responders and frontline workers taking part in these events.

On Oct. 18, adults can come to the library from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and inspect a model of a teenager’s bedroom to see if they can spot the signs of substance abuse in an interactive Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit. Then at 6:30 p.m., we invite everyone to listen to “Joey’s Story,” a talk presented by Lavin and Tom Schwan exploring their late son’s struggle with addiction and how it affected their family.

On Oct. 25, the library will host a Dreamland book discussion at 6:30 p.m. in the Frost-Kalnow Room. Copies are available to check out at the library as well as through our Ohio Digital Library ebook collection, for those who prefer pixels to pages.

On Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m., come to our “What’s Happening in Seneca County?” panel discussion to learn about the state of the opioid crisis in our community, as well as the recovery resources available to those in need.

Finally, on Nov. 13, we invite the public to come to the library once more at 6:30 p.m. for a follow-up discussion entitled “Where Do We Go from Here?” to discuss ways we can respond to this epidemic and build community.

Heroin and opiate addiction flourishes in the darkness of isolation and secrecy. Please come to these events and then do your part to bring it into the light.

Matthew Ross is director of Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.