By Wayne Gates –
The Coalition for a Drug Free Brown County was created in 2015 to help fight the growing problem of addiction to opiates and other drugs.
The group has been working on community based solutions to some of the issues created by the opiate epidemic, and will present their action plan on September 6.
The public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Brown County Educational Service Center.
The coalition worked with the Brown County Mental Health and Addiction Services Board to develop the plan, along with the Brown County Health Department, the Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force and members of the general public.
“When we all work together to come up with ways that we can keep our community safe and advocate for drug free communities, that what makes the difference,” said Brown County Mental Health Board Director Deanna Vietze.
She said the plan addresses four areas, which are treatment, prevention, harm reduction and supply reduction.
“With treatment and recovery, we are looking at how to make the public more aware of what is available,” Vietze said.
She added that the coalition was studying how to collect data that can be used to apply for federal and state grants.
“We are also looking at ways that we can provide support to families that are going through the recovery process,” Vietze said.
Also on the prevention front is education about the dangers of addictive drugs.
“We would like to expand some of the mentoring programs that we have in the schools. We are asking if there are any more programs we can put in schools or do community wide on the prevention end of things, Vietze said.
Supply reduction is just what it sounds like. Vietze said that the group was looking at how it can assist the Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force and other law enforcement agencies to reduce the amount of drugs coming into Brown County.
Finally, Vietze talked about harm reduction.
“Harm reduction is part of the help side of things. One of those would be to help enhance the distribution of Narcan in the community. Others are creating the Quick Response Team in the community and looking at ways we can reduce infections from reusing needles,” she said.
Vietze said that members of the general public can also help.
“I would like them to come to our forum and get involved. Whether they are sharing this information with their local church or other groups or with just family and friends, we need to have a unified message going out that we are tired of all the drugs,” she said.
Vietze also wants the public to know that treatment for drug addiction is available in the county for those who need it.
“While we don’t have an inpatient facility in the county, we do have outpatient options available. We also have medication assisted treatment options available. There are a variety of treatment options, but in many people’s minds the only option is inpatient,” she said.
Vietze added that September is recovery month and that anyone who needs information or assistance with drug addiction can call her office at (937) 378-3504.