VINTON — Recognizing the role of drug addiction in spikes of crime in Gallia County, Huntington-Morgan Crime Watch recently engaged with local experts helping substance abuse victims with the painstaking process of recovery.
Meeting March 7 at Vinton Village Hall, the group welcomed Angela Stowers of Gallia County Citizens for Prevention and Recovery, and Kevin Dennis, chief executive officer of the Field of Hope Community Campus, who discussed initiatives to aid addicts who are sincere about kicking their habit and all of the negative side effects it creates, including criminal activity to support their habits.
Stowers, deputy director of the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, said Citizens for Prevention and Recovery was established five years ago, but is now making its presence known in the community after a period of information-gathering and study. The organization is a coalition of agencies, services and individuals looking to minimize the impact of drug addiction on the community by focusing on prevention and recovery.
“This is how it starts, this is what it’s all about, a passion to do something,” Stowers explained.
To that end, Citizens for Prevention and Recovery is hosting a public forum, “Local Help for Local Folks,” on March 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Bossard Memorial Library in Gallipolis. Stowers said the purpose is to spotlight efforts by the coalition, promote involvement in achieving its goals, and provide information on the area addiction problem, including a discussion of the heroin epidemic, and local resources to resolve the issue.
“The message we want to get out is one of hope,” she said. An encouraging sign has been seen in attendance at the coalition’s monthly meetings, which have gone from about 10 people to around 30 seeking to tackle the problem, Stowers added. More information on the coalition and the upcoming community session is available by contacting Stowers at 740-446-3022.
Dennis, recently honored by the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce for spearheading a faith-based push to help addicts return to society free of drugs, briefed Crime Watch on Field of Hope’s counseling initiatives and the work of Gallia Strong Towers based at Vinton Baptist Church. Field of Hope activities are in the former North Gallia High School across Ohio 160 from the church.
Field of Hope also plans for the opening of a recovery house around June 1 to provide long-term rehabilitation for female addicts “that will give them victory over substance abuse and a new start on life,” as noted by an article in the Faith and Family 2017 supplement issued last week by Ohio Valley Publishing Co.
“We work hand-in-hand with the court system and providers, and we are determined to turn the tide,” said Dennis, who stressed that recovery is time-consuming for the individual being helped as he or she undergo a psychological as well as physical adjustment to a life without substance abuse.
“We have to work through all of that nastiness of drug addiction and love the person,” Dennis added.
In other matters, the nearly 20 people attending the Crime Watch meeting heard concerns about loiterers and suspicious activity at various locations around Vinton. Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Provens advised those with concerns to be vigilant and contact the sheriff’s office.
Crime Watch will meet again on April 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Vinton Village Hall.
Kevin Kelly, who was affiliated with Ohio Valley Publishing for 21 years, resides in Vinton, Ohio.