GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Citizens for Prevention and Rehabilitation gathered Monday after helping host Operation Street Smart visit May 4 by Franklin County Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators to discuss the next steps of trying to bring community members forward to help fight Ohio’s drug epidemic.
The group has established communications with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office and plans to bring speakers to the area to talk on their expertise in dealing with addiction epidemics throughout the state and how local resources can be utilized to address the problem. Representatives from the AG’s office attended previous functions in Gallia County last year in an attempt to offer advice on bringing community coalitions together.
Coalition members have been busy, but more work still needs to be done.
Since that time, local police have been trained (with help from the Gallia County Health Department) in the use of naloxone (also called narcan) as an antidote to help treat individuals suffering opiate overdose in emergency situations. The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with Citizens for Prevention and Rehabilitation, the Gallia-Meigs-Jackson Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services and Health Recovery Services, have started placing signs in private yards as well as public advertising tip lines for citizens to call in the event they feel suspicious activity that may be drug related is occurring.
Last week’s Operation Street Smart brought Franklin County narcotics investigators to Gallia County to inform the public in regards to the latest drug trends local children may encounter. This also occurred as part of coalition efforts. The Gallia-Meigs-Jackson Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services has brought hundreds of thousands of grant dollars to the Ohio Valley region in an attempt to counsel addicts finding themselves repeatedly in jail and lower the population of an already crowded jail system. The Field of Hope project in Bidwell on State Route 160 has made leaps in renovating an old high school facility to be used for a community outreach center and addiction counseling program. This is by no means a complete list of efforts made by local groups pushing to end heroin and other drug abuse in the area.
While progress has been made, group members are still searching out community members to help lead the fight against drug addiction in the Ohio Valley region and beyond. Citizens for Prevention and Recovery are looking for individuals from all walks of life to help spread awareness of addiction, how to combat the state’s drug epidemic and how to connect with other group resources.
For those wishing to become involved with the local coalition pushing against addiction, they can contact the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 446-6555, the Gallia-Meigs-Jackson Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services at (740) 446-3022 or Health Recovery Services at (740) 441-4420. Individuals can also contact the Field of Hope Community Campus at their Facebook page.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.