A finalized version of the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition’s community drug abuse prevention plan will be presented next month after weeks of coalition and public input.
The coalition met Thursday afternoon at the North High Business Center in Hillsboro to mull updates for the Highland County Community Plan for Drug Abuse Prevention, designed to be a comprehensive plan aimed at organizing community-wide efforts to reduce local drug abuse by focusing on harm reduction, treatment strategies and advocacy efforts.
Several members of the coalition said some goals set in last year’s version of the plan have been met.
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner, who serves as chairman of the coalition’s harm reduction committee, said 180 Narcan kits have been handed out to the public free of charge in the last four months, and 40 kits have been set aside for local law enforcement.
Warner said no one has reported using any so far, although such reporting is not required.
Tonya Sturgill, treatment coordinator for the Highland County Probation Department, said the drug treatment committee has met with success this year as well.
Sturgill said Highland County will soon have at least one residential treatment center for the first time ever, and with assistance from Interact for Health in Cincinnati and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, a quick-response team is being formed to assist people in getting into treatment programs after they overdose.
Heather Gibson, president of the coalition, said one residential treatment center will be though FRS Counseling at a site yet to be determined, and one through Scioto Paint Valley Mental Health located in Greenfield.
Kim Davis, who was instrumental in the recent Hope Over Heroin event at the Highland County Fairground, said fundraising efforts are continuing for a “sober living” center, potentially in a more rural area of the county.
“I think there’s been a lot of success in the past year,” said Gibson, adding that although addiction rates and overdoses have been dramatically rising, she feels the coalition is “in a better place than we were last year.”
Warner told The Times-Gazette recently that the plan unites different agencies to attack local drug abuse from a variety of angles.
“It’s no secret that all of southwest Ohio has a drug problem,” Warner said. “The great thing about the drug coalition is we’ve got so many community partners who are working with us to see what we can do to fix it. It’s that kind of problem that just hits everyone, everywhere… The written plan is really an attempt for all of us to take a look at this from all the perspectives of all the different agencies. We’re figuring out what issues we need to work on for treatment, prevention, supply reduction, all the different pieces. That’s the idea behind it.”
More information on the plan can be obtained by emailing Gibson at [email protected], or by visiting the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition’s Facebook page.
The Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition is a group of public health officials, treatment professionals, law enforcement and people of faith who meet monthly to exchange ideas and resources for preventing local drug abuse.
The next coalition meeting is set for Thursday, Aug. 24 at noon in the big conference room at the North High Business Center.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.