Through a partnership with the Frederick Police Department’s Victims
Services Unit and the County Health Department, Hospice launched its Overdose
Survivor Outreach Program to bring care, comfort and support to the families
and friends of individuals who have died from overdose.
Until Deena Loudon lost her son, Matthew, to overdose last fall, the last
place she expected to find grief support was at Frederick Health Hospice.
Just weeks after the death of her son, still reeling from her devastating
loss, Deena accepted an invitation to attend Surviving Our Ultimate Loss
(S.O.U.L.), a peer-led support group for moms held at Frederick Health
Hospice. Today, still in the early stages of what will be a lifetime journey
through grief, Deena says that attending that first S.O.U.L. meeting helped
put her on the road to reconnecting with herself and the world again.
“I connected with the other moms immediately,” said Deena.
“I instantly recognized that these women were my people–my
tribe, my sisters. My heart was broken but I felt deep comfort right away.
In fact, during the meeting and for five minutes after, I actually felt
The S.O.U.L. support group is just one of the many pieces of the Overdose
Survivor Outreach Program. Victoria Leizear, the Traumatic Grief Specialist
who helped launch the program last year, responds to calls from police
and first responders when a person dies from overdose. She also follows
up with the family to offer support and resources, as well as one-on-one
counseling and a variety of support groups for surviving family members.
Where appropriate, Victoria provides referrals to recovery and harm-reduction
resources to loved ones who are also struggling with substance abuse and
Even though the program’s launch has been impacted by the pandemic,
it has made a huge difference in our community. According to the Frederick
Police Department’s Victims Services Supervisor Suzy Boisclair,
PhD., Hospice’s Overdose Survivor Outreach Program is helping to
change how those involved in fatal and non-fatal overdoses are treated.