There is NO Hero in Heroin Foundation (TINHIH) Foundation and Rebel Recovery Community present the 6th Annual Black Monday Public Education Forum on Monday, February 11, 2019, to help raise awareness of the opioid epidemic impacting our community. The event was held in the Main Ballroom at UNLV’s Student Union 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm.
Black Monday provides family members, persons in recovery and those still in active addiction a chance to come together and witness the power/energy that recovery from substance use disorder can create. Recovery is possible, people can and do get well. Families with loved ones still in active addiction are at a loss in how to deal with it. Certainly, this subject is not talked about at the traditional social gathering locations (work, school, etc.). People living through this nightmare become isolated, feeling a disconnection from the usual social formalities- “…my child just received an award”, “…so and so just got accepted to a prestigious college”, “…did you hear about the new job offer my loved one received?”. These social “niceties” are perfectly acceptable and normal. However, when a parent or family member hear these, they add to the disillusion that there is something wrong with them. What did I do wrong, what can I have done differently? In all actuality, there is nothing someone can do once their loved one has crossed the line into addiction. Black Monday is a safe place, where attendees can look beyond outside circumstances and connect with others at a deeper level. We come to the realization that our loved ones are NOT defined by their addictions and actions rather by the soul connections we share as a member of humanity.
At this year’s event, there was over 25 community partners that presented a Resource Fair, representing southern Nevada’s resources that are available. Local 12-step programs and treatment facilities to state government sponsored parenting programs to recovery residences all showcased their resources to the over 500 event attendees.
Overdose prevention and Harm Reduction classes were incorporated into Black Monday. People who signed up for these classes received the lifesaving drug (Narcan) and harm reduction kits. There was a total of 140 people trained by City of Las Vegas Fire and Rescue and Southern Nevada Health District.
Event MC Chelsey Mony (woman in long term recovery) opened the program by introducing TINHIH’s Founder, Joe Engle, to a round of applause. Mr. Engle shared TINHIH’s vision of a recovery friendly community- highlighted some of TINHIH’s accomplishments including the creation of the ALL Public Recovery High school, a collegiate recovery program at UNLV and the sponsored rent vouchers for people new to recovery. Chelsey the moderated a panel of local Las Vegans. The panel included a person in long term recovery (Bob Vickrey), a bereaved mother (Debi Nadler), and someone in/out of recovery (Dylan Engle). This cross section of Las Vegas gave emotional responses to the questions that rang true for the audience. Chelsey and Black Monday chair (Krista Hales) then gave a community update from the providers and Heather Engle gave an important update from the Las Vegas Rescue Mission- they are the only “on-demand” treatment provider in the valley. Keynote address was given by former collegiate/NFL football standout, Ryan Leaf. Ryan was a star quarterback who was the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. After four years in the NFL, Ryan eventually became addicted to painkillers, attempted suicide, and ultimately served 32 months in prison for drug related crimes before being released in December 2014. Ryan got sober in prison and went through a 90-day rehab program upon his release. He’s now the program ambassador for Transcend Recovery Community, a sober-living environment with nine homes in the Los Angeles, New York and Houston areas. Ryan Leaf is an advocate for those struggling with mental and behavioral health issues and encourages audiences to transform the way we think about mental health issues and addiction. The event ended with tears and hugs as attendees watched the TINHIH memorial video and the original There is No Hero in Heroin song.
As per usual for Black Monday, family members and friends place a colored carination on the official carination wall for their loved one. Each color represents distinct phases of addiction- red in memory of a loved one who has passed away from an overdose, black to honor those still in the throes of addiction and white to celebrate those who have overcome their addiction!
TINHIH had secured sponsors to offset the cost of this event to ensure the public is able to continue to attend at no cost to them. The UFC has committed to becoming involved as an EVENT SPONSOR for all of