Two Villages hosts panel discussion with addiction experts

Mar 12, 2024 | Around Ottawa County | 1 comment

From left, Jayne Klett, Kelly Garza, Dawn Bova, Michelle Veliz and Jeanine Lindquist held a Two Villages Town Hall Meeting at Woodmore Middle School to discuss addiction. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)


Four experts in the field of addiction came together for the most recent Two Villages Town Hall Meeting at Woodmore Middle School on March 3. The meeting, which was hosted by Two Villages founder, Jayne Klett, featured a panel discussion on addiction by Zepf Center Manager of Prevention Services, Kelly Garza; OhioCan Regional Coordinator Dawn Bova; Ottawa County Health Department Health Educator, Michelle Veliz; and Zepf Center Prevention Specialist Jeanine Lindquist.

The panelists discussed a number of topics related to addiction, including the similiarities between substance use and behavior-based addiction, such as gambling. The group explained the science behind addiction.

“When you use anything, dopamine is released in your brain,” Bova said.

Zepf Center Manager of Prevention Services, Kelly Garza, left, talks with an attendee of the Two Villages meeting at Woodmore Middle School. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

One of the main objectives of the discussion was to share practical means of overcoming addiction, including proactive ways to rewire the brain as it craves dopamine, a compound which provides feelings of pleasure.

“Dopamine makes you feel good, but there are other ways to release dopamine,” Bova said.

The panelists discussed ways to rewire the brain and bypass harmful neuropathways by creating new pathways. They suggested a number of options, including exercise and creative outlets. Repeatedly replacing addictive behaviors with healthy choices can change the way the brain reacts to addictive pleasures.

Lindquist said it is important to look under the surface of addiction for the underlying cause.

The mission of Two Villages is to protect local children from the trauma of addiction. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“We have to answer the ‘why’ question. Why do we do this? It fills a void, numbs us or helps us feel good,” she said. “We need to find other ways to (feel good) without alcohol, drugs, social media, sugar, etc.”

The panelists also brought up a revolutionary concept that refutes the long-held belief that addiction is a disease. Bova said that labeling addiction as a disease can hinder recovery.

“The thought we get is that a disease is uncurable. Maybe we need to change that because we can become well. Your brain can heal from that,” she said.

The Town Hall meeting was held to equip the community with tools to protect local youth from addiction and help those who struggle with it. It is important to teach youths how to avoid maladaptive ways of coping with the difficulties of life while they are young.

“Most people who struggle with addiction were 12 to 14 when they started using,” Garza said.

One of the best defenses against addiction and the most proactive means out of it is community, Veliz said. The Two Villages Town Hall Meeting provided just that as people from across Northwest Ohio gathered at the school to learn new ways to protect local children and support the recovery community.

“The solution to addiction is community,” Veliz said. “It’s education. It’s awareness. It’s people coming together.”

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1 Comment

  1. Scott Gresser

    Sobriety works every time it’s tried.


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July 2024

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