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Darryl Strawberry helping Ohio families struggling during the opioid crisis

Many baseball fans fell in love with Darryl Strawberry for his athletic endurance while playing for the New York Mets and New York Yankees. He won four World Series Championships. But, it wasn't all glamorous and wholesome. It was a world of drugs, addictions, marital issues and financial disaster. Few people knew the darkness lingering inside his soul screaming for help. He lost everything. Now, clean, sober and remarried, he and his wife have joined forces to help addicts and their families break away from the dangers of opioids. They formed Strawberry Ministries in Orlando, Florida.

Darryl and Tracy Strawberry toured the Dayton and Cincinnati area recently after forming an alliance with Ohio Pastor's to help stop the epidemic of Ohio's opioid/drug crisis. The couple made a special appearance, March 5 at the Beavercreek Nazarene Church to help share their struggles with drug addiction in the hope to provide families, friends, and especially addicts with education, enlightenment, hope and the tools for sobriety. The Epidemic of Hope is a collaboration with churches and rehabilitation centers to bring religion back to the forefront. They're working closely with Mike DeWine in a drug campaign that is sweeping through Ohio. 

According to a study compiled by Mike DeWine's office, there is an average of 12-17 deaths a day in Ohio due to drug overdoses. But, the problem isn't isolated to just the addict, it affects families, friends and even innocent bystanders.

"This isn't like the game of baseball I used to play. This is a real game of life and people only get one chance. We've lost so many young people to drugs and we don't have to lose anyone else," Darryl said.

With this alliance, not only is the goal to support, educate and help the addict, it offers support for the families. A dynamic array of issues arise when living and dealing with an addict. Realistically, recovery is not always a topic the addict wants to deal with, but the family life goes on. Children act out. Marriages crumble. Children services might be involved. The loss of income may occur. Financially, a family can crumble in a heartbeat. So, what can a family do? What rights do they have?

Darryl and Tracy provided the following suggestions:

PLAN AN INTERVENTION

Gather close friends, family and children in a place that is comfortable to the addict- a neutral place. Have the participants share thoughts and feelings about the drug addiction. Offer support, education, love and support by asking the addict to seek help.

But, what if the addict doesn't share the desire to quit and refuses? What if the addict wants to quit, but is scared? Either way, move to the next step.

MAKE A PLAN

Every family will have different needs and desires. What are the issues? Financial? Divorce? Housing? Legal issues? Find the issues in the current situation and reach out to organizations to see what services are available to help - for the addict and families.

If treatment is an option, contact the health insurance company to see what services are available for rehabilitation and the local facilities that can help. (With the Ohio Pastor's Alliance and partnership with Strawberry Ministries, many local churches now have counseling available just for this step.)

CONTACT A RESPECTFUL ATTORNEY

The respectable and dedicated attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers are ready and willing to offer advice, representation and set out a plan that meets the family's individual needs. Whether it be a criminal issue, family law, divorce or help planning, the attorneys are available.

In addition to planning for the future, Darryl and Tracy Strawberry also offered that education and changing the teaching of the dangers of drugs is also an important aspect on the epidemic of drugs.

"The drugs being used today are unlike anything seen on the streets before. It's not the harmless marijuana that was smoked behind the garage when parents weren't watching. No. It's laced with fentanyl," Darryl said. "So, the education can't be the same. It requires different tactics."

Darryl went on to say that many drug addicts are fostering feelings that have been hidden, building in their bellies - like rape, abuse, emotional issues or even dealing with a death. These are issues that need to be dealt with from the core and brought to the surface to really heal the person. That's the Strawberry's specialty in their treatment centers. "To really fix the problem, you need to fix the hurt first," Darryl said. "Our schools are missing education on drugs. They're not the same as they used to be. They are deadlier. Tracy and I can help because we've been where they are. We know what they're going through."

"There's a spiritual brokenness in American with opiates and heroin addiction. It's not just Ohio, it's all over," Tracy said. "Until we fix the spiritual part of it, the drug issue won't be fixed. We really wanted to come to Ohio to help. We need to grab hands and learn to walk together and help people of all walks of life."

Darryl and Tracy Strawberry will continue touring Ohio throughout the remainder of the summer, along with the Ohio Pastoral Alliance and Mike DeWine. 

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