The Referral Center, located in Oklahoma City, is hosting its 1st Annual Charity Dinner to Change Lives on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the Oklahoma History Center, to raise awareness of Substance Abuse and Co-occurring Disorders in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. Photo by Darla Shelden.

By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter

The public is invited to The Referral Center’s (TRC) 1st Annual Charity Dinner to Change Lives on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zahudi Dr., in Oklahoma City.

The event’s goal is to raise awareness of Substance Abuse and Co-occurring Disorders in Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities.

Organizers feel there must be an open and honest discussion about addiction in Oklahoma City.

The featured guest speaker for the evening is Dr. Ed Shadid, Oklahoma City Ward 2 City Councilman and candidate for Oklahoma City Mayor.

“For many years, I have been very public about my addiction and recovery,” Shadid said. “I have maintained transparency because I believe it is helpful for those in long-term recovery to come forward in order to decrease the associated shame and stigma.

“The public response to the addiction crisis in Oklahoma City is inadequate. It is only when those in successful long term recovery come forward and explain that recovery works that shame and stigma will lose their power. Then, public perception will change and we will develop a healthier response to the addiction crisis.”

Shadid added, “The fact is that treatment does work and there is a community of thousands and thousands who are in successful recovery including every occupation, race, gender and socio-economic group.”

The TRC treatment approach is designed to help an individual take the first vital steps away from drug and alcohol dependency. A team of experienced doctors, nurses, counselors and case managers help individuals to begin their recovery in a nurturing and caring atmosphere. The treatment program is based on the twelve steps.

“Although it will be painful, I pray that some good will come from the discussion of what addiction can do to a family,” said Shadid. “It is critical that the people of Oklahoma City know how common this disease is, what it is doing to our city and that there are treatments that work if we invest in them.”

The Referral Center for Alcohol and Drug Services of Central Oklahoma, Inc. is the only private, not-for-profit program in central Oklahoma available 24-hours a day, seven days a week serving chemically and alcohol dependent persons.

Don Burk, TRC CEO said, “We must face facts, even hard ones, and not sweep them under the rug. Oklahoma City is being overrun with addiction related issues. We have among the highest prescription drug abuse in the world.”

Summer Kaulaity, TRC Special Events Coordinator said, “This is a great opportunity to learn how you can change lives. All payments on seats/tables are tax deductible and all proceeds with go to benefit programs offered at The Referral Center.

“We hope everyone is able to experience this magnificent event with us.”

Data shows that more than 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery and more than two-thirds of American families have been touched by addiction.

Statistics also show that two thirds of all emergency room visits by senior citizens are drug and alcohol related.

Burk said, “Our continuing mission is to provide exceptional patient-centered chemical dependency services to persons seeking drug-free lives in the state of Oklahoma. The TRC treatment approach is designed to help an individual take the first vital steps away from drug and alcohol dependency.”

The Center offers medically supervised detoxification and case management certified and funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The Center offers these services without regard for a person’s ability to pay.

Rick Glass, TRC Board Of Directors Vice President said, “TRC gave me a life that I never dreamed possible.”

Lea Jensen, TRC Board Member said, “The Center saved my life. There is really nothing else like it in the state.”

Reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and dinner, provided by Ned’s Catering, will be served at 7 p.m. Dress is business attire.

Tickets are $50 per person or a table can be reserved for $450. Reservations must be received by Wednesday, Feb. 12. Tickets can be purchased by phone, by mail or in person at The Referral Center at 1215 N.W. 25 St., Oklahoma City, OK 73106.

For more information, contact Summer Kaulaity at 405-525-2525, ext. 112 or summer@trcok.com. To learn more about The Referral Center, visit trcok.com.

Source: http://city-sentinel.com/2014/02/the-referral-center-holds-inaugural-dinner-to-celebrate-changing-lives/