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“It gripped my life” Substance use disorder forum Apr. 22

LEWISTON, ME – “It Gripped My Life,” an informal conversation and panel discussion about substance use disorder, will be held on Mon., Apr. 22, from 5 PM – 6:30 PM in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon Street. Hosted by the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council (LYAC), the event, with a subtitle of “drug use, a shortcut to nowhere,” is free to attend. 

“There’s more to stopping drug use than people may realize,” said LYAC member Fadumo Ahmed. “Substances impact a person’s mind, brain, and decision-making, and we want to help create a community support system for those gripped by drugs.” 

“LYAC has been exploring the impulses and pressures of substance use disorder on a person’s life. We’ve also discovered that drug use, unfortunately, can be normalized in contrast to how serious it really is,” said LYAC Vice-Chair Saida Abdisamed. 

“Drug use is indeed happening more than people realize, both with some of our peers and their parents,” said Fadumo Hussein. 

Councilor Ryn Soule agrees, “It’s important for our community to understand that addiction is not just an adult issue; it’s affecting our youth.” 

“LYAC is also working to help alter the perceptions and stigma that sometimes surround those with substance use disorder,” said LYAC member Anny Zhao. 

Guest speaker for the event is Sean Leclair who has been in recovery for six years. He recently shared his addiction to recovery journey with LYAC members who want more people to hear his story. 

“He is a prominent example of how drug use impacts the user as well as the person’s relationships,” continued Ahmed. 

“However, Sean eventually got to a point where he sought a change for himself,” said LYAC member Kaydence Gibson. Leclair’s story includes the lowest, darkest point in his life to when he experienced a new, healthier beginning. 

Participants on the event panel are:

Abigail Reuscher, Lewiston High School Forensic Science teacher, speaking about the chemical impacts of drug use;

Lisa Escobar, Lewiston High School Substance Use Counselor, speaking about drug use by young people;

Stephanie Harmon, RN, speaking about overdoses and Narcan;

Ryn Soule, Lewiston City Councilor, sharing a family perspective of having a son with substance use disorder; 

Amran Osman, Executive Director of Generational Noor, speaking about the stigma that often surrounds those with substance use disorder.

During the event, there will also be interactive activities with attendees, and a Narcan presentation will occur.

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