Opioid forum breaks down stigmas of substance misuse

Dawn and Greg Tatro know about battling substance use disorder all too well. “The best way that I can describe our journey is like a wild roller coaster,” Dawn Tatro [...]

Dawn and Greg Tatro know about battling substance use disorder all too well.

“The best way that I can describe our journey is like a wild roller coaster,” Dawn Tatro said.

Their daughter Jenna Rae lost her battle with the disease earlier this year, six years after she received prescription pain pills from a hospital visit.

The family and other community stakeholders addressed a packed room in Hyde Park at the fourth opioid forum in Lamoille County.

“We feel like this is a battle that needs to be brought to the forefront right now before we lose too many more people,” Greg Tatro said.

They were joined by Gov. Phil Scott, who signed a bill into law that creates a substance misuse prevention advisory council.

“The bill I’m signing tonight represents the next step in our efforts by consolidating the different prevention initiatives across state government to use the scarce dollars we have more effectively,” Scott said.

And Dr. Ed Baker, a clinical social worker, presented on some of the stigmas surrounding substance misuse. He advised that words go a long way, and that straying from words like user and addict will benefit those battling substance use disorder.

“Recreational use, doctor shopping, user; these words don’t get it,” he said. “They don’t sound compassionate.”

Compassion is what the Tatros are striving for. The couple recently purchased a church in their hometown of Johnson. They hope to eventually create a sober living facility.

“Her (Jenna’s) spirit is with me every day,” Greg Tatro said. “And she’s pushing us, so we can feel it.”

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