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Medium: Making a Difference in Monroe County

March 30, 2016
Opinion Editorial

April Demers is no stranger to addiction — she was born into it.

At a young age, April slept in the car while her mom drank at the bar. As she grew up, April's mom would disappear for days, leaving her to fend for herself.

These experiences made April determined to reverse the trends of addiction.

"I was dead-set that it was going to stop with my generation. It's about choice. And my choice was how can I not be that?" April told the Monroe News.

In 2006, she founded the Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition, which is on the front lines of raising awareness and combating addiction in our community.

Now, April devotes her time to empowering and educating young people, increasing prevention and treatment, and supporting those on the path to recovery. 

The fast-growing heroin and prescription opioid epidemic has touched every corner of Michigan, and it hits particularly close to home in Monroe County. The devastating impact on our communities and the stories of families being torn apart are heartbreaking. In just one 24 hour period alone in 2015, three people in Monroe County died of heroin overdoses.

This Women's History Month, as we honor the women of our past who have charted new courses, we also celebrate the women of today who are helping others change the trajectory of their lives and create a brighter future.

In Michigan's 7th District, we are fortunate to have women like April Demers working to turn the tide of addiction, save lives, and offer hope to the community.

This op-ed was originally published on Congressman Walberg's Medium account.