Monday, 04 February 2019 18:55

Support group for those who lost a loved one to overdose

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ELLSWORTH - Karen Santerre knows firsthand the type of pain the drug epidemic is inflicting on families throughout the state.

She lost her son to a drug overdose on March 31, 2016.

To her, it felt like time stopped in its tracks.

But nearly three years later, she says she's been able to better deal with the pain of losing her son.

Karen credits a special overdose support group offered by Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County, one she says she would recommend to anybody.

Karen described the group as "a place to feel all of it. To laugh, to cry. These are our children, we love them. No matter what the stigma is for anybody else, they're our children, and as mothers and fathers and siblings and all of the family, we need to have a place that's acceptable to accept we've lost these loved ones, without any judgment."

Employees of Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County say Karen is not alone, and that other families are struggling with similar losses.

That's why the organization is offering the support group again, to provide a safe, confidential and supportive environment for those affected.

"I hope people don't let the stigma and feelings of shame stop them, because it's a disease," said Janice Ronco, bereavement services coordinator at Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County. "It's a disease like any other disease, and just the way you might go to a support group if you lost someone to diabetes, this is not anything different."

The group will meet every Wednesday for five weeks, beginning on February 20.

Registration is required. You can register by going to the group's website or by calling 667-2531 and asking for Janice.

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