Gwinnett County

Metro Atlanta church wants to provide help, hope when it comes to dealing with addiction

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga — A new report out by the Georgia Department of Public Health shows overdose deaths due to drugs mixed with fentanyl are on the rise.

But treatment and recovery are possible.

Channel 2′s Lori Wilson visited an area church that is reaching out to the community to provide help and hope.

“Destroyed multiple jobs, my health, my family, had legal problems.. you name it, it affected everything,” Joel Lindquist, who is in recovery, said.

Lindquist says part of his recovery is helping others understand that drug use, even addiction, does not have to be the end of the story.

“I’ve lived it out myself personally, and here I am. I just don’t want people to lose hope,” Lindquist said.

His minister at Snellville Church of Christ, Harold Savage, wants people to have hope too, and he says open, honest conversation can help people understand they’re not alone.

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“We’re all in this together. We all have things we’re working through. No family is immune from this,” Savage said.

Licensed therapist and addictions expert Dr. Lucy Cannon says there are warning signs parents can look for.

“They have a great deal of trouble concentrating, they either sleep too much or hardly ever sleep... they’re very irritable, the school work starts to really deteriorate.”

At a time when drugs are being laced with fentanyl, Cannon says parents can open up a dialogue with their kids, using some basic questions like these:

“What do you know about drugs? Do you know any kids that experiment with drugs? What do you notice about them? Then you want to let them know there is a lot of misinformation about drugs being okay, you want to be very straightforward, they’re not.”


Cannon says many kids start experimenting with drugs they have easy access to at home at around the age of nine they try alcohol or pain pills. Lindquist said he started drinking with friends when he was a teenager and then years later became addicted to opioids.

“We should talk about it more because it affects all of us... it is part of our family problem,” Lindquist said. “We want to help because life gets better...and there is this thing called hope. It’s real, and they can have it.”

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