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COPE Network stands for Community Outreach Prevention and Education Network
We are a licensed non-profit 501(c)(3) that covers Barry, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties in Southwest Michigan.
COPE provides a variety of resources for people who use substances or have a history of using substances, as well as resources for their loved ones and the community at large. We offer art, music, and movement based classes, support group meetings, recovery oriented meetings, harm reduction supplies, and more.
See below for information.
Art, Music, and Movement Classes
At our building in Kalamazoo, we offer a range of classes related to art, music, and movement thanks to our diverse network of skilled volunteer instructors. These activities allow people to explore new hobbies, interests, and wellness pursuits in accessible and affordable ways while opening people up to new social connections and community support. These classes are also accepted by the Kalamazoo Drug Court, meaning that people in a drug court program can come to classes like guitar, yoga, or meditation and receive credit toward their success in the program like they do for attending NA, AA, or intensive outpatient programs (IOP).
Almost everything we do at COPE is open to the public, and our offerings are not limited to people with substance use history. In fact, we encourage outside participation! It should go without saying, but people with a history of substance use are more than their substance use, addiction, or recovery, and they shouldn't feel defined by their history when seeking services. By being open to the public, our programs are attended by a mix of people with histories of substance use, families and friends of people with histories of substance use, people who are formerly incarcerated, people who are marginalized or vulnerable in other ways, and compassionate community members interested in learning new skills. No one who attends our programming has to define themselves any particular way. When someone comes to a yoga class, the main topic is yoga, not addiction, or recovery, or who is here for what. By offering a yoga class this way, people who do have a history of substance use (or people who have other stigmatized experiences and identities) get to practice yoga in a setting that is welcoming to them around their peers or around people who are caring and compassionate to the difficulties they may be facing should they need support.
We ask that people who attend our programs not ask or assume the background of other attendees (unless they bring this up themselves) or overstep anyone's boundaries. For those who do have a history of substance use, abstinence or recovery is NOT required to attend, although we ask that people not use substances on the premises or solicit substances from other attendees.
Because of the nature of these circumstances, most of our programs are 18+ (or require parent/guardian attendance) unless otherwise stated. If you have questions about this or are seeking support for youth, please contact us.
For information and a schedule of our current classes click here.
Overdose Prevention Trainings
In 2015 COPE's founder Nancy King received a grant through Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health and The Red Project to distribute the medicine naloxone (also known as Narcan) to the community as an antidote to opioid overdoses. In addition to distributing Narcan, Nancy developed presentations that more thoroughly address the subjects of substance use, addiction, harm reduction, and overdose prevention, as well as how to respond to an overdose with or without Narcan. COPE has since shared this presentation with communities all over Southwest Michigan, bar/restaurant and entertainment staff, businesses and organizations, churches, concert crowds, schools, graduate and undergraduate classes, doctors and nurses, even local law enforcement. COPE's main focus is on getting Narcan into the hands of those most likely to use it by training every round of patients at area rehabs and being available for drop in, mobile, and one-on-one trainings as requested. Since 2015 COPE has trained over 10,000 people and given out over 9,000 kits in our 8 county region [statistic as of November 2020].
We always have Narcan available for anyone who needs it, and we recommend that people get trained in overdose prevention and overdose response in case they find themselves in an overdose situation. If you would like to receive a kit or set up a training, or to learn more about overdose response click here.
ACES Trainings and Accounting for Trauma
The Adverse Childhood Experiences study (also known as ACES) conducted by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente looks at the relationship between trauma experienced in childhood and health outcomes in adulthood. The ACES study found that the more trauma a child experiences, the more at risk they are for developing diseases in adulthood (including mental health disorders and addiction) or suffering an early death. In 2017, COPE's founder and executive director Nancy became a certified Master Trainer with the Michigan ACE initiative, which allows her to give presentations on the ACES study and its findings. Additionally, in 2020, Nancy became a certified trauma recovery coach through the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching.
COPE strongly believes in the importance of identifying, preventing, and healing trauma for the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and society as a whole. ACES presentations are just one way we are able to address trauma, but it is a topic and an issue we are invested in addressing however else we can.
To contact Nancy for more information on trauma or trauma recovery, or to set up an ACES training click here.
Family and Community Support
One of COPE's earliest endeavors was to provide support for families suffering due to a loved one's substance use or addiction. In 2012, COPE's founder, Nancy King, lost her daughter Marissa King to a heroin overdose. In the wake of Marissa's death, her family and friends reflected on the various ways they responded to her substance use and began sharing their own experiences. During this period of reflection, Nancy realized where Marissa had been failed by those closest to her and the systems or resources that were supposed to help her. Using her past experiences of seeking resources or support for Marissa and consistently falling short or coming away empty handed, Nancy started advocating to increase resources for people using substances and their families in Southwest Michigan and sought to both increase access to community substance use resources and make the process of navigating addiction services easier for anyone seeking help.
In 2014, Nancy began a support group for families and friends of people who use substances with the goal of helping others learn how to best care for their loved ones through substance use or addiction. The first meeting was attended by a mix of family members of people using substances and people with a history of substance use looking for ways to offer support. Shortly after that first meeting, people started bringing their loved ones who were using substances in hopes that the group would help them communicate, reach an understanding, or repair strained relationships. As a result, these meetings quickly evolved to include many different figures in the substance use equation. Parents, siblings, friends, and community members showed up to learn how to help their loved one or to receive support for what they were going through while affected by their loved one's substance use. People using substances or people with a history of substance use showed up to give and receive support, or to openly and honestly share their lived experiences in order to help others. At times, doctors, nurses, addiction specialists, therapists, and other addiction service providers showed up seeking help for themselves, or their loved ones, or just to learn how they could better support their patients and clients. Other times, community stakeholders in the substance use, addiction, or criminal justice realm showed up to hear directly from those most impacted by the systems they govern or the policies they uphold (when this happens, it is often discussed with attendees beforehand to avoid making anyone feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or unable to share).
The goal of our meetings is always to foster connection, increase compassion, and prevent both suffering and premature death from substance use or related causes. Everyone is welcome as long as they share these underlying goals. Attendees are not required to speak, but anyone who wants to will be given a chance to be heard. Feedback and support is offered by both meeting facilitators and other attendees. If you are a person using substances or someone with a history of using substances, involvement from your own family members or friends is not required to attend.
Our Family and Community Meeting is a twice-monthly meeting in Kalamazoo.
COPE is happy to offer support and guidance to anyone who reaches out in need. Please feel free to contact us or to learn the meeting schedule click here.
Harm Reduction and Kalamazoo Harm Reduction
COPE strongly believes in Harm Reduction as a compassionate and inclusive way of caring for people who use substances or who suffer from addiction. The term "Harm Reduction" refers to "a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use" (Harm Reduction Coalition). Harm Reduction is about establishing quality of life for people who use substances, and it does not require someone to be abstinent from substances or in recovery for them to achieve quality of life. To view the principles of Harm Reduction as defined by the Harm Reduction Coalition, click here.
COPE uses a Harm Reduction framework in everything we do. We are all about meeting people where they're at in their substance use, addiction, or recovery journey, and we strive to support people in whatever ways we can to help them establish better quality of life. Whether someone is seeking recovery or not, our goal is always to advocate for the health, safety, equity, and autonomy of people who use substances.
In 2020, members of COPE came together to bring Kalamazoo Harm Reduction to the community as a way to distribute safer-use supplies like clean needles to those in need. This is a way to keep substance users and especially IV drug users as safe and healthy as possible while reducing their risk of exposure to blood-born pathogens like hepatitis A, B, and C, as well as HIV. To learn more about this program and see the efficacy of safer-use supply click here.
To become a participant in the program and receive free harm reduction supplies call or text 269-568-3658 or 269-568-3182 for more information click here.
Art, Music, and M Classes
Overdose Prevention Trainings
ACES and Accounting for Trauma
Family and Community Support
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