Parents say “tough-love” approach to addiction is archaic, open new support center


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There’s a new approach to treating opioid addiction in Erie County.

The Save The Michaels House Of Hope and Community Resources, opened its doors last month. The free center acts as a resource to teach parents about addiction and how to work with their son or daughter.

Julie  Israel says there are a  lack of treatment options in Western New York. She says there aren’t enough beds at long-term facilities and a lack of follow-ups at outpatient treatment program. So she and her husband Avi Israel, created their own program. She said, “Recovery starts after treatment.”

Karen Knab, A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist works at House of Hope. She said, “House Of Hope is the only place that families can come to directly for help and assistance, and support and education around a family member who is struggling with addiction.”

She volunteers her time and hopes to work with clients individually and in a group setting. She said, “Families that have addiction are often times full of shame, or feel embarrassed about what’s going on. So, they often don’t tell anyone else what is going on in their own family.”

This new facility caps a two years journey to help the community with a kinder approach to working with loved ones caught up in addiction. Julie Israel said, “What happened to Michael was 100% preventable and what do we do about it? Something needs to change.”

The center is named after Israel’s son< Michael, who committed suicide after years of addiction to painkillers. This new, approach is something they believe he needed. Israel said, “He was devastated by some of the actions that we were advised to take, and all our son really wanted was to be loved.”

Now 25 parents who have either lost children to opioids or whose children are now addicted will be trained in becoming recovery coaches for the growing population of Western New Yorkers touched by this struggle.

Israel said, “It’s important for me, because I feel as if I’m doing something for my son, and for the other families out there.”

To learn more about services offered through the House of Hope, you can visit the website here. 

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