By Kaila Braley
HANSON — In the first initiative sponsored by the nonprofit group, On Solid Ground, founder Lynda Cripps is hosting informational sessions about addiction at the Hanson Public Library between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. every other Saturday this summer, starting July 18.
The final session is slated for Aug. 29.
Cripps is a registered nurse certified in addiction who has spoken at conferences and conducts informational sessions for businesses. She hopes this program will offer the community an educational resource for those who can’t find reliable resources online, or would prefer to speak to an expert in person rather than read from a website.
“My goal is to be a live person,” she said “If I can save a life, it’s worth it. Or even if I can help someone through a tough time, whether the person is addicted themselves or whether their friend or loved one is.”
Cripps said only 10 percent of those who suffer from addiction are being treated for it.
“I know my town is affected,” she said. “I think the whole South Shore area right now is affected equally. It’s no different than Brockton down the street. It’s just sheer numbers that make it seem worse there.”
While opiates and heroin are the drugs people in the South Shore are most commonly addicted to, Cripps said she can counsel participants in any kind of addiction, including gambling or eating addictions. She will also meet those interested at a different time or location, if they are unable to come to the specified times or would feel more comfortable meeting elsewhere.
Participants can walk in to the Hanson Public Library at the specified times to speak with Cripps one-on-one about any concern they have regarding addiction, whether they may be interested in referrals to medical facilities, information about how to respond to someone who is overdosing or even how to stage an intervention. Cripps emphasized that she available to discuss absolutely any aspect of addiction that someone wants to know about.
Cripps said she is grateful for the space in the library that will allow community members to discretely come to get information about a topic that may make some uncomfortable.
She added that she hopes more education and prevention in the community will reduce stigma and help those struggling.
“It’s a disease, just like hypertension and diabetes,” she said, adding that chemical changes occur in the brain when addicts take drugs or alcohol that prevent them from making rational and healthy decisions.
She added that two longer-term goals for On Solid Ground would be to open a small drug- and alcohol-free home for women in the area, and to develop a scholarship to help recovered addicts get their feet back on solid ground.
While working full time, coming home to two children and taking classes at UMass Boston, Cripps began On Solid Ground a year ago December.
Starting a nonprofit has always been her goal, she said, though On Solid Ground has developed more slowly than she would have hoped. She added that she has built up a network of dedicated professionals who are interested in being involved with projects as the nonprofit develops, but at the moment, she is working on her own.
Her number one priority this summer is to assess Hanson’s need for resources and begin educating and helping those who want more information.
“I just want everybody to know that it’s scary, but they’re not alone,” she said. “There’s somebody here – a live person. I’m not a computer. If somebody wants to just have a good cry, I’ll listen.”
For more information, or to set up another time to see Lynda Cripps, call 774-259-8102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.