Prevention Coalition hears from guest speaker

By Kayla Hawthorne - Special to the Sentinel

POMEROY — Members of the Meigs County Community Prevention Coalition discussed trauma from drug abuse during their meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

The coalition invited speaker Beth Bullock from Reach for Tomorrow to speak to the audience about the trauma that people endure when they or their family members are abusing drugs. Bullock, who lost a son to a drug overdose, used her experiences to develop informational packages and resources for families who are dealing with loss due to drugs.

Reach for Tomorrow provides training for trauma, drug abuse, human trafficking, mental health and more.

Before Bullock started working for Reach for Tomorrow, she created Brave Choices to bring awareness and provide support and education for families dealing with drug abuse. Bullock uses Brave Choices to create bags that first responders carry to give families when they go out on a call. One bag is for a family who lost a loved one due to drugs and another bag is for families who had a loved one overdose and survive. The information helps them to take the next steps in their healing process. There’s a checklist of things to do in the next few days and information on where to get help.

The coalition discussed reviewing the material from Brave Choices to create or update procedures in Meigs County.

During the meeting, the coalition also discussed the increase in suicide rates in Meigs County. Various agencies have heard from community members who want to do something to combat the growing issue. Crystal Rankin with Hopewell Health Centers said they have a grant to create resources for suicide prevention. The coalition discussed options of adding suicide prevention to the priorities of the existing group or creating a new coalition specifically for suicide prevention and awareness. Members agreed it made sense to add a priority to the existing coalition.

Eastern Supt. Steve Ohlinger asked what resources could be created and given to school employees for suicide awareness. Ohlinger said the teachers, bus drivers and staff are with the children and often notice or hear things. Training during in-service days would give employees education on signs to look for in children.

In discussion of old business, the group decided the 2020 Fair Prevention Day needs revised to keep the attention of younger children in attendance. The coalition will also be listening to feedback about the give-a-way prizes from attendees.

The coalition also discussed the Operation Street Smart event at Meigs High School last week. Members want to plan another presentation for community members.

During the agency updates,

-Ryan Evans from the Attorney General’s office said they are working on certifying equipment to test the level of THC in marijuana. Police departments and sheriff’s offices will be able to request use of the equipment from the BCI. The equipment is expected to be certified in January 2020.

-Courtney Midkiff with the Meigs County Health Department said the Ohio Department of Health sent an alert about deadly respiratory issues from vaping.

-Midkiff also said the department has money to put toward Hepatitis A prevention. They sponsored hand-wash stations at the fair and they will be giving vaccines to those who want them during the flu shot clinics.

-Midkiff said the department wants to do another training program for local businesses on Sept. 26 for Narcan administration training.

-Reggie Robinson with Health Recovery Services said the department on Mulberry Heights is celebrating recovery month with a program on Sept. 19 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

-Get Healthy Meigs! has their quarterly meeting on Sept. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services.

The next meeting for the Meigs County Community Prevention Coalition is scheduled for Sept. 25 at noon at the Emergency Operations Center.

By Kayla Hawthorne

Special to the Sentinel

Kayla Hawthorne is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.

Kayla Hawthorne is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.