Presentation is Thursday at Veterans Terrace

By Alex Johnson

Correspondent

Celebrating 25 years of service, the Transitional Living Center, or TLC, will host a presentation titled “Responding to the Opioid Epidemic,” a program to raise awareness of the opioid crisis in western Racine county.

Scheduled at Veteran’s Terrace on Apr. 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the presentation will feature Aurora Health Care’s Dr. Michael McNett, medical director for chronic pain, and Robin Monson-Dupuis, the director of Aurora Behavioral Health Service. Monson-Dupuis lost her son to a heroin addiction.

“I don’t think people know how much of an issue (opioids) are in western Racine county” said Cristen Chaffee, the Executive Director for TLC in Burlington. “Unless it’s put in front of you, people think it’s everywhere else but it’s here.”

With an average addiction age of 25 to 35, Chaffee said current conversations have made TLC and other organizations see the “rise in addiction,” especially in areas like Burlington and Walworth County.

The event, sponsored by Aurora Health Care, is to educate people who want to learn about the dangers of addiction, or for those who are struggling with addiction themselves and want help to find resources.

TLC helps 90 to 150 people a year, with space for 16 women and children at one time, including those struggling with addiction, battling sickness, job loss, and more.

Chaffee added that there is no average amount of time that people can stay at the TLC because Chaffee and her team “don’t want them to go out too quickly, fail, and come back. We want them to succeed.”

Programs offered at the TLC range from job training to anger management. Chaffee said one woman is learning how to drive – with the help of 75 volunteers.

The budget for TLC totals $228,000 a year, with 89 percent of that budget coming from the greater Burlington community. The program does not receive federal aid.

Other sources of income come from churches, grants and organizations like United Way.

“I look at these people, see mothers rocking their babies to sleep, I see the woman who is so excited to get a job. I see them at their worst (and) at their best. They are human beings,” said Chaffee.

The main goal of the presentation is to involve the community, according to Chaffee, in the hopes of forming a smaller team or group to continually talk about the issue of the opioid crisis.

“(Addiction) is a cycle, and we are trying to break it,” said Chaffee.

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