Local ministry to host opioid awareness event

« The Valley's Opioid Crisis

Awareness event set for Aug. 23 at Youngstown church

By Jordyn Grzelewski



In the 15 years they’ve been visiting inmates in Ohio’s prisons, Martha Conyer-Allen and the Rev. Walter B. Allen have seen up-close the effects of untreated drug addiction.

“They do the time, but they never receive the treatment that they really need,” said Conyer-Allen. “Once they’re incarcerated, they could spend five, 10 years, and that drug addiction lays dormant. But as soon as they come out, they go right back to the same thing.”

It’s for this reason the couple aims to be part of solving the ongoing opioid epidemic. Free Indeed Prison Ministries Inc., a Warren-based nonprofit that the couple founded and directs, will host an awareness and solutions event next month.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church at 1210 Himrod Ave. It is free and open to the public.

The event’s featured speakers are Drs. Jeremy and Penelope Mashburn, a married couple who recently moved back to the Mahoning Valley to work at a local hospital.

“They have prescribed medication and opioids to patients, and they’re going to share their experiences with these patients,” Conyer-Allen said.

She said some of the planned topics include opiate use and how it affects current generations compared with past generations, and how community involvement can help decrease the likelihood of becoming addicted. The event also will feature a question-and-answer session.

Conyer-Allen said the event, which is sponsored by Woodforest National Bank, is not only for people whose professions are impacted by the opioid epidemic, but for the general public, too.

“We want to provide solutions, not only for those who are addicted, but to their families, their loved ones,” Conyer-Allen said.

To register for the event in advance, call 330-572-9737 or visit https://freeindeed-prison-ministry-inc.ticketleap.com/. Registration also will be accepted at the door.

Free Indeed is a faith-based organization that supports inmates and their families as they prepare to re-enter society.

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