Community drug forum held

By Anna DeWine

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XENIA — The Greene County Community Drug Coalition recently held its 3rd annual Community Drug Forum at the Herman N. Menapace Center.

Prevention, treatment, recovery and health promotion were the topics of discussion at the forum. The moderator, Jim Ryan, led the program, while a panel of local professionals shared information and answered questions from the audience.

“We have a challenge in our society because things like heart disease, cancer and Type 2 Diabetes don’t have one of the things that Substance Use Disorders do, and that’s the stigma. We attach stigma to Substance Use Disorders and addiction and we don’t to those other diseases,” Ryan said in his introduction to the panel.

Amanda Pollock of Greene County Educational Service Center opened the panel discussion by talking about prevention.

Among her tips included avoiding scare tactics when approaching persons with Substance Use Disorder, always using medication appropriately and talking to a doctor about alternatives to pain medication.

“Be an advocate for yourself,” Pollock said. “And also be a responsible and supportive adult for youth.”

Lynn Oliver, from TCN Behavioral Health, followed Pollock by speaking about treatment.

Oliver cited treatment as having a 40-60 percent success rate, depending on the type of drug, what stage intervention occured, and the individual having a support system.

“Addiction is not a matter of flawed moral character or a lack of willpower,” Oliver said. “The issue that we are dealing with is very serious, sometimes deadly.”

Nate Crago and Amy Pulver from the Hope Spot spoke next about recovery support, explaining it from both individual and family perspectives.

“Recovery is all encompassing — mind, body, and spirit,” Crago, board president of the Hope Spot, said.

Pulver described addiction as “a family disease” and also “an isolating disease.”

“Addiction will take down as many people as it can,” Pulver said. “This is everywhere. We have to not believe that we’re immune to it, or it only happens here, or it only happens when you’re young, or it only happens to bad people.”

Finally, Ashley Steveley of Greene County Public Health spoke about health promotion and the services and support that GCPH provides for the county. Steveley also addressed the increase in opioids being prescribed and the increase of drug overdoses in the community.

The forum ended with questions from the audience and answers from the panel.

Reach Anna DeWine at 937-502-4498.

Reach Anna DeWine at 937-502-4498.