Heroin and Opioids: A Growing Epidemic

An opioid related epidemic has been growing for a number of years in our city and sadly just now beginning to break into the immediate realities of the mainstream consciousness.

Current Arizona Department of Health Services and National Institute on Drug Abuse information show a strikingly grim reality; although heroin and opioid related deaths in the U.S. and Arizona have been increasing for nearly a decade now, 2016 marked a spike in the overall trend.

A look at some of the recently released statistics show how serious and widespread the issue has become.

  • In 2016, somewhere between 59,000 and 65,000 people died of overdoses in the U.S.
  • In Arizona, a total of 790 people (on average more than two a day) dies from overdose of opioid prescription medication s and heroin in 2016.
  • Over the last five years, heroin related deaths have triples in Arizona, and heroin specifically accounted for 39 percent of all opioid deaths last year.
  • Arizona adults 45 to 54 had the highest overdose rates at 18.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Additionally, "opiod-related encounters" cost the Arizona health-care system more than $341 million in 2015 alone and there were an estimated 51,000 "opioid-related encounters" at hospitals in 2016.

State health officials report that this surge shows no signs of stopping.

Phoenix Rescue Mission is doing it's part to help with the surge in overdoses in Arizona. We are already training our staff and volunteers on opiod safety and overdose prevention, as well as the recognition of an overdose. We are also now providing many of our centers and our Hope Coach with Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opiods. Administering Naloxone during an overdose is the first step in saving a life!

It's another way that your support is keeping our neighboss on this side of eternity! Our hope is to provide more man and women like Trevor (cover), who have gotten caught up in this tremendously addictive and deadly drug, with a second shot at life and a second chance at transformation.

Winter Wonderland

Our annual Winter Wonderland Event is right around the corner on December 16th. It's a special day where the families we serve select a toy for their children for Christmas and children can "shop" for their parents.

We need toys for children of all ages, as well as items for adults like household wares, personal care items, blankets, and tools. There will also be cookie decorating, fun activities and hot chocolate for everyone! Bring your unwrapped items to our Mission Support Center, 1468 N. 26th Avenue by Friday, December 15th from 8am - 4 pm (closed Saturdays and Sunday).

 

Winter Wonderland - December 16th

Bring all toys donations to:

1468 N. 26th Ave by Friday, December 15th from 8am-4pm

Love. Connect. Serve.

The holiday season is a tough time for the men, women, and children at the Phoenix Rescue Mission. The end of the year always has a way of bringing up emotions that leave you feeling broken, longing for a new start. October for Southgate church, however, is a long-anticipated time of year. "Planning has been going on for the last few month," Josie a member of Southgate explains.

This year is the fourth year Southgate has been coming to the Phoenix Rescue Mission's Changing Lives Center for women and children, and throwing an all-campus festival. "This event is the highlight of the year for our church!" At Southgate, the mission is LOVE. CONNECT. SERVE. "Today is all about that," Nate a Southgate member explains. This is our community outreach, and we love partnering with the Phoenix Rescue Mission to do this event every year. "This is a great distraction, Rebecca, a client at the Phoenix Rescue Mission says. "It is so important to have fun while in recovery, we work so hard. Today was much needed. I feel refreshed."

Southgate church shuts down for the day, and members "bring church" to the Changing Lives Center. The day begins with church service, and after service the campus becomes a fair of sorts. With games, a bounce house, a dunk tank, and plenty of food to feed almost 200 bellies!

Thank you to Southgate church and all of it's members for coming together and making this event happen year after year. These days are so critical in the recovery of the women and their children working towards new life at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

"I love seeing all the smiles," says Connie a client of the Changing Lives Center, "it's a good day!"

Banking on Transformation

This past January, we were approached by Hope for Hunger Food Bank in Glendale with the possibility of taking over their outreach – providing groceries, bread, fresh vegetables, meat and dairy to men, women, and children who need them most. After much prayer and deliberation, Phoenix Rescue Mission is proud to announce that we have decided to accept the offer and continue the good work Hope for Hunger has started! “This operation will greatly expand our anti-poverty ministry outreach and give us a base of ministry operations in Glendale,” says our President and CEO Jay A. Cory. Currently, Hope for Hunger serves 100 families a day, Monday through Thursday every week. Providing groceries offsets the cost of food allowing families on the edge of homelessness relief. Going forward, these individuals and families will also have the opportunity to connect with a bevy of Phoenix Rescue Mission services designed to break them out of the cycle of poverty and get them back on their feet! We’re excited to be able to reach out and offer hope to hurting families in a whole new way – and it’s all because of friends like you who make it possible! Check out our newsletter next month for more details!

 

Spinato’s Closes Restaurant to Serve Community

Four men, once broken, homeless and addicted, now sit at a upscale pizzeria on 7th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. As a Spinato's staff member came by to check on the men and their food, Chris a now Servant Leader at the Phoenix Rescue Mission is holding back tears. "They opened up their doors to us, they sat down and spoke with us, we prayed together." "I will be talking about tonight for the rest of my life."

Spinato's Pizzeria in Phoenix has a community based mindset, and giving back to their community is part of their Mission. "We have such a big family, our staff is family, our restaurant is a place where we can bring in people and make them feel at home as well," family of owner, Nicole explains.

Spinato's closed their restaurant down to serve 105 men currently residing and transforming their lives at the Phoenix Rescue Mission. "We told our staff, 'take your time, sit down and get to know these men and their stories.'" "They are who we are serving tonight." Efren, has been at the Mission for seven months now and said, "We usually wait in line to get our food everyday. To sit down at a beautiful restaurant and be catered to was so special."

Spinato's gave each men the opportunity to order "anything and everything," from their specialty pizzas, pastas, calzones and even dessert! Tables were full of delicious food, smiles, and full bellies were seen throughout the restaurant. "This is the best pizza I've ever had, 5-star!"

Efren is a part of the staff opening Mission Possible Cafe that will serve the community, and expand the Food Service Vocational training at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, and said, "this event has brought to life the idea of the Cafe." "We will be serving and welcoming our community and serving them, just like Spinato's has opened up our doors to us."

September is Hunger Action Month, and Spinato's has stepped up in a big way, but just like the Mission, Spinato's focuses on food 12 months out of the year. Thank you to the staff, family, and friends that made this incredible night possible. "It was heaven, a night I won't forget." Chris and the other 104 men finished dinner, and were given a hygiene pack to go. Filled with shaving cream, razors, a water tumbler, and other goodies to leave the restaurant with. The men of the Phoenix Rescue Mission left Spinato's with a renewed spirit, full bellies, and full hearts. "Tonight reminded me people care," Efron said as he walked out with left over pizza, a goodie bag, and a smile that will impact others for days to come.