Laborers 110 hosts fundraiser for ARCHway Institute, helping address heroin/opioid epidemic

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TRAGIC LOSS: Laborers Local 110 Business Manger Don Willey lost his adult son to a heroin overdose last year. Willey shared his story at a recent fundraiser for the ARCHway Institute at the Local 110 union hall in south St. Louis County. Local 110 has donated and helped raise about $40,000 to assist in ARCHway’s efforts to help individuals with mental health and addictive disorders. – Labor Tribune photo

By TIM ROWDEN

Editor

Laborers Local 110 hosted a recent fundraiser for the ARCHway Institute, bringing to about $40,000 the amount Local 110 has donated or helped raise to assist ARCHway in its mission of helping individuals with mental health and addictive disorders.

Local 110 has a personal connection to ARCHway.

Business Manager Don Willey lost his adult son, Matt, 36, to a heroin overdose on March 29 of last year. The very next day, Willey’s 26-year-old nephew died from the same thing. Matt was staying at a recovery house affiliated with ARCHway on Humphreys Street in St. Louis in the days before he relapsed. Aaron Beattie, a friend of Matt’s had brought him there after finding his own sobriety in a similar recovery house in California.

Willey met ARCHway executive director John Stuckey when he went to the recovery house to collect his son’s belongings, and he asked him questions about the program.

ARCHway partners with ARCAmidwest, which runs recovery houses where recovering addicts help current addicts who realize they have problem and want to kick the habit and collaborates with other groups fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic.

“Recovering addicts helping those struggling with sobriety to find a new life, that made sense to me,” Willey said.

“I was looking for a cause to help with this deadly mental illness…. I knew there were members from all the unions in St. Louis dealing with this epidemic. A recovery house or funding for treatment is exactly what this community needs.”

STAGGERING NUMBERS

Ninety-one Americans die each day from heroin and opioid overdoses, Willey said. And union members are not immune.

Last year, after losing his son to a heroin overdose, Willey thanked the membership for their prayers, thoughts and donations at the following union meeting. He then asked the members to raise their hands if they were dealing with a heroin addict in their own family. Of 120 in attendance over two dozen raised their hands.

John Stuckey, executive director at ARCHway, said 20-25 percent of the people that come through their houses are union members, or former union members that have fallen out of their unions and are trying to get back in.

“You find a lot of skilled laborers struggle with substance abuse just from pain pills, getting hurt on the job, getting over prescribed. They end up getting addicted not able to pay their dues,” Stuckey said. “We try to help them in recovery, getting back on their feet and back into the union so they can work.”

SUPPORTING ARCHWAY’S EFFORTS

The Local 110 Executive Board has been supportive of ARCHway’s efforts and approved donations and fundraisers for the institute.

ARCHway has provided consultation to the Laborers Health and Welfare fund in dealing with addiction issues and, along with Willey, provided speakers for the StL Construction Forum in a program highlighting opioid abuse in the construction industry.

They provided speakers and planning for the Laborers International Union of North America’s (LiUNA) Midwest Regional Health and Safety Department’s two-day conference “Combating Opioid Abuse and a Drug Free Work Place,” which was held here in St. Louis.

“ARCHway shows up to get the work done for people dealing with the mental illness of addiction,” Willey said.

CONTACT ARCHWAY

ARCHway provides scholarships to help those suffering from addiction pay for treatment and services. For more information on ARCHway, visit its website or contact John Stuckey at 636-233-1184 or email jstuckey@arcamidwest.com.

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Help and support

Laborers Local 110’s journey with ARCHway in dealing with the opioid and heroin epidemic in St. Louis has also put them in contact with other groups that are dealing with this crisis, including:

  • NCADA – The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, which works to reduce or prevent the harms of alcohol and other drug use through education, intervention and advocacy. NCDA is the organization the runs the Super Bowl ads dealing with addiction. Find out more here.
  • Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, which works to change laws dealing with addiction. Robert Riley of Clayton Behavioral Clinics is the director. Find out more by visiting its website or calling 844-732-3587.
  • CRUSH – Community Resources United to Stop Heroin is an initiative started May 2015 by the Office of St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar. The initiative involves schools, law enforcement, treatment providers, community leaders and health care organizations in a collaborative effort to raise awareness and share resources to address the abuse of heroin and prescription opiates in the region. Find out more by visiting its website or calling 636-949-7900 or 1-800-822-4012
  • HOPE – Joe Brennan, a Local 110 member, runs the HOPE (Hope for Opiate addicts Parents Exists) group for parents and families dealing with the addiction of loved ones at Hyland Behavioral Health/Kindred Hospital at St. Anthony’s (Hyland “B” Building). The group me1ets at 7 p.m. on Monday evenings. Find out more by visiting its website or calling 314-525-7296.
  • GRASP – MaryAnn Lemonds runs GRASP (Grief Recovery After Substance Passing) Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. at Concordia Lutheran Church Library, 505 S Kirkwood Rd, St. Louis, MO 63122. Find out more by emailing grasp.stl@gmail.com, visiting its website or calling 314-330-7586.

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