Never Alone talks addiction

WEIRTON – There are many types of addiction, and one local organization is trying to provide residents with a better understanding of its problems and solutions.

On Tuesday, Never Alone West Virginia hosted an educational health fair and informational workshop focused on addiction as well as some of the local agencies and professionals who can assist those fighting an addiction.

Never Alone founder Patti Barnabei explained there are many types of addiction, and many things to which people can become addicted. The event, dubbed “The Many Faces of Addiction,” was organized with the goal of providing information to residents, in particular young people.

“It could be food, alcohol, drugs, technology,” Barnabei said. “It could be anything.”

Assisted by Weirton Medical Center and Sports Radio 1430 WEIR, as well as local law enforcement and court officials, Weirton Area Ambulance and Rescue Squad, Healthways, Family Connections, Wellspring Family Services, Northwood Health Systems, Jefferson Behavioral Health Systems, and other agencies, visitors to Tuesday’s event were able to learn about resources available locally to help fight addictions.

“Anything we can do to save someone’s life is worth it,” Barnabei said.

The evening also featured a presentation by Frank Kros, a former child care worker, child abuse investigator, children’s home administrator, consultant, college professor, attorney and writer, currently part of the Upside Down Organization.

Kros’ presentation, titled “Trouble Letting Go,” focused in particular on the sensitivity of the adolescent brain and its vulnerability to addictions.

Kros explained he focuses on what he calls “The Five Why’s,” discussing the effects of a drug or substance on the brain in the early stages of addiction, from the initial high, to the increased cravings for the substance, as well as ways to fight back, including early intervention, medications and abstinence programs.

“They say addictions formed in adolescence are more difficult to fight,” Kros explained.

Kros said he also gave a presentation for the students of Weirton Madonna High School Tuesday afternoon, adding he was impressed by their attentiveness and questions on the subject matter.

Barnabei noted Never Alone was unveiling new red and white survivor bracelet support wristbands during the event.

“They’re giving them out tonight, but we’re going to be taking orders for them,” she said.

Working with area businesses, Never Alone also is working on a project to provide bookbags to all incoming fifth-grade students at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

(Howell can be contacted at, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)