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from Bay Village League of Women Voters reaches out to community on addiction

Posted January 25, 2021
10:51 pm

Written by Linda Gandee in on 01/25/2021

The Bay Village League of Women Voters means business when it comes to addiction in the city. Not in a harsh way, but in a caring and involved way.

A virtual meeting was held Thursday (Jan. 21) to showcase several people who are able to provide city residents with information, assistance, direction and treatment for addiction.

The League of Women Voters joined the Siegal Lifelong Learning Center of Case Western Reserve University for the online forum, “The Addiction Disease and What We Can Do About It.”

A panel of medical, legal and addiction experts shared their understanding and experiences, with the goal of finding more effective and permanent solutions to the problem.

The panelists included:
  • Moderator Diana Pi, M.D.
  • Jim Joyner, licensed independent chemical dependency counselor, clinical supervisor and an internationally certified clinical supervisor of Joyner and Associates
  • Jennifer Kinsley, attorney, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
  • Christina Delos Reyes, M.D., addiction psychiatry specialist, University Hospitals
  • Judge Joan Synenberg, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas

Synenberg made the most lasting impression by relating what she sees in the courtroom. “There is a lot of suffering going on with addiction,” she said.

She noted that her court is different than a regular court, and pressed the idea that “recovery does work. We get very involved, listening, truly caring. Miracles of recovery do happen.”

She also pitched the need for a diversion center to keep addicts out of the justice center --relieving the “jail load.”

Joyner spoke of predictors of recovery and positive outcomes.

“What is needed is a supportive family,” he said. “It is a family disease. Also needed is education and support for the family, too. And we can give (the addict) a road map within their abstinence.”

He also rejected the idea that people have to reach rock bottom in order to be treated and make progress.

“They just have to be willing and compliant,” he said.

He also mentioned that treatment takes time, as addiction is created by changes in the physical makeup of the brain, not due to any moral failure.

“As the brain heals, it will be a good year or two to get back to normal,” he said.

Delos Reyes reminded the audience that it takes at least 90 days to keep a client involved in the process in order to see lasting progress, and that much has changed in treatment methods.

Kinsley added that even the Cleveland Bar Association can be of help in making referrals. She also mentioned that police officers are getting more training in de-escalation having to do with sensitivity to substance use disorders.

All of the participants spoke in positive terms of good outcomes when the right interventions and treatments are utilized.

For more information on the participants and how to contact them for their expertise, contact the Greater Cleveland League of Women Voters at or call 216-694-8108 and refer to the Bay Village League of Women Voters/Siegal Lifelong Learning Center of Case Western Reserve University online forum, “The Addiction Disease and What We Can Do About It.”

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