Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – One woman’s personal account of a brother lost to drug addiction kicked off the second community forum on opiate addiction held Tuesday at the Circleville Municipal Court.
About 60 people turned out for the meeting, which focused on resources available for families of drug addicts in the local community.
“After the first forum we had, there were some questions about resources available to parents and family members and where they could turn for support,” said Jason McGowan, chief probation officer and host of the community forum. “We didn’t have an answer for them that night, so we wanted to bring in different groups to talk about programs they have available and open a line of communication with these individuals.”
Representatives from several agencies and support groups offered information about their programs, including Pickaway Area Recovery Services (PARS), Scioto-Paint Valley Mental Health, Overcomers (hosted by Crossroads Church), Second Chance and Celebrate Recovery.
A comprehensive list of support groups and activities is currently being assembled by the newly-formed Pickaway County Improvement Coalition, according to DJ Dumm, coalition member and vice president of TSTech TriMold, LLC.
Dumm told the group about 80 citizens and community leaders assembled March 23 for an all-day event focused on an aggressive mission of eradicating opiate addiction in Pickaway County by 2020.
“I was amazed at the number of individuals in our community who not only came but put forth a lot of effort toward achieving these goals,” Dumm said.
He said the coalition soon will be launching a website that will provide detailed information about resources, events, strategic plans and action in the local battle against drug and alcohol addiction.
Local court judges Gary Dumm, P. Randall Knece and Jan Michael Long also participated in Tuesday’s forum, offering encouragement and support to addicts who may be in or are heading for trouble with the law.
Long spoke about a little-known and rarely-used Ohio law that would allow family members to force an involuntary commitment to drug rehab facilities that he believes could be explored on the local level. He also advocated restarting a family drug court program that he felt was useful in the past.
In the meantime, guests at Tuesday’s forum offered questions and suggestions to help support addicts and their families during the long recovery process, including:
- a possible partnership with Berger Hospital to provide beds for addicts during the detox process;
- a current program through the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office to obtain Medicaid cards for addicted inmates in the county jail prior to their release so treatment can continue when they leave the jail;
- parenting classes for recovering addicts becoming reacquainted with their children;
- and the possible creation of a ‘recovery club’ that would provide recovering addicts with support and entertainment opportunities in a safe, alcohol- and drug-free environment.
McGowan said the coalition will continue to work on plans of action to help addicts on the road to recovery, and he hopes to host another community forum in the coming months.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal