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Recognizing the growing need for emotional support among those who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston is launching a new support program.

Called GRASP – Grief Recovery After Substance Passing – the program is a joint venture with the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), and the Florida Parishes Human Services Authority (FPHSA). The first meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m., at NAMI St. Tammany, 23577 Martin Way, near Mandeville. GRASP is free and open to anyone impacted by the loss of a loved one due to drug abuse. No RSVP is necessary, and attendance will be confidential.

Organized by Adele Bruce Smith, the Coroner’s Mental Health Outreach Specialist, the GRASP meetings will be facilitated by Melody Bennett, a licensed counsellor and substance abuse specialist.

“Last year, dozens of St. Tammany Parish citizens died from drug overdoses,” Preston said. “With each of those deaths, many people were impacted – family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and other loved ones. We can’t make that pain go away, but we will do what we can to help survivors cope with the trauma of loss.”

For more information, email, or contact Adele Smith at 985.781.1150.

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