GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Citizens for Prevention and Recovery (CPR) coalition recently met to discuss current community efforts, learned about the reported dangers of vaping and the receipt of a tobacco cessation grant.
CPR is a group of volunteers from Gallia County working to “reduce the scope and impact of drug abuse and addiction, suicide, human trafficking and school violence,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
During the meeting members discussed efforts to assist and connect with the community.
It was noted the recent Drug Take Back days in Gallia, Meigs and Jackson counties had a total of 209 pounds of expired and unused medication, both over the counter and prescription, turned in for disposal, said Nick Hopkins, outpatient director, services for Holzer family pharmacy.
The event is normally held twice a year, but Hopkins said many of the local sheriff’s offices have disposal boxes if needed in between.
Shannon Dalton, community programming coordinator with Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH), shared that CPR has purchased promotional materials for tabling events to share information with the community with a tent, tablecloth, yard signs and swag.
She also said ADAMH now has a billboards going up around the county displaying positive messages.
Dalton said she has purchased the book “Ignite!: Getting your community coalition fired up for change” and hopes to initiate a book club next year.
Currently Dalton is working on the “Presence is a present” campaign, in an effort to uplift the community around Gallia, Jackson and Meigs Counties. She said this will include a popup photo booth at Gallipolis in Lights.
During other business in the meeting, it was discussed to move meetings to quarterly to allow the coalitions that have branched out from CPR to have more time to organize events and initiatives and develop further ideas.
“Over the years that we’ve been doing this, we’ve had some really good ideas that have somehow become committees, or other coalitions,” said Laura Jenkins, co-chair CPR. “They’ve been good ideas and we’ve implemented them, but we’ve not really developed them. And so we have a lot of different things happening.”
Jenkins said the idea is that CPR would be the main “trunk” of support like a tree with root coalitions developing to further help the area.
No action was taken in changing the CPR meeting dates or structure.
During the CPR gathering, Alana Fraley, tobacco use prevention and cessation program director with the Gallia County Health Department spoke about the increase in use of vapes and the reported dangers of the tobacco device.
Fraley also shared that she was recently certified as a cessation counselor and CPR will be awarded an $8,000 grant by partnering with the health department and helping share information on tobacco cessation.
“More than one out of four high school students [are] vaping,” Fraley said. “And that has actually increased this year.”
Fraley said a common misconception is that it is “just vapor or it’s just water.”
“Vaping devices include nicotine, ultra-fine particles, flavors such as dyacetlene — that is linked to serious lung diseases and cancer — volatile organic compounds, cancer causing chemicals, heavy metals — such as nickel, tin and lead — and aerosols,” Fraley said.
Fraley said many would be surprised of what chemicals are in vapes.
“The big thing, it’s not vapor, it’s aerosol. It also has embalming fluid in it and that’s the number one leading chemical,” Fraley said.
Fraley said there has been a spike in vaping devices in the last five years in high schools with 11% in 2017 to 21% in 2018 to 27.5% in 2019 and still increasing.
Fraley said the flavoring in vapes increase the dangers as more can be inhaled.
“Every time a kid is using these vaping devices, they don’t feel it because it’s flavored,” Fraley said. “So what the flavors do is whenever they’re inhaling it, it’s numbing their throats, so they can just keep inhaling as much as they want. And the chemicals are burning the inside of their lungs.”
Fraley shared a number of different vapes and the way the devices are made to be hidden discretely. She also shared that secondhand smoke from vapes is dangerous to others just like cigarette smoke.
For those interested in quitting smoking or vaping, Fraley said reach out to the Gallia County Health Department or text “Start my quit” to 36072, My Life My Quit.
The next CPR meeting will be Dec. 13 at noon at the Gallia County Health Department.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.