Springfield coalition to host community forum on opiates

The Clark County Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Support Coalition will host a community forum to discuss the opiate epidemic from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at United Senior Services, 125 W. Main St.

The event will be an open discussion that will include local professionals and a person in recovery. The message is often spread to people who are tied to the epidemic, but not the general public who might be affected by it, coalition Chairwoman and McKinley Hall treatment center CEO Wendy Doolittle said.

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“That’s the population we’re missing and it’s really key,” Doolittle said. “We want common residents that don’t come in contact with this every day the way we think somebody would if they’re using or if they’re a family member.”

With more education on the topic, the public will better understand addiction, Doolittle said. A second forum is expected to be held in October.

Multiple speakers will present on the topic, including Springfield Fire/Rescue Division Chief Nick Heimlich; Springfield Police Division Chief Steve Moody; Dr. Greta Mayer of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties; Denise Estep of Clark County Department of Job and Family Services; Doolittle of McKinley Hall; and Melanie Silvus of the Families of Addicts support group.

“They’ll be able to talk about how it’s affecting their system and what they’re able to do to address it,” Doolittle said. “The community needs to know that we need all hands on deck and everybody has to do something to help this get better.”

RELATED: Clark County leaders pledge to fight addiction stigma, OD crisis

Similar forums were held earlier this year for both local government leaders and business owners.

“They were great,” Doolittle said. “It gives us an idea of what type of messaging we need to put out and what kind of addiction we need to talk about and explain.”

A light lunch will be served while supplies last. The event is open to the public.

Three more forums will be held for schools, the family community and medical personnel, she said.


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The Springfield News-Sun has written extensively about opioid and heroin problems in Clark County in the past five years, including stories about multiple overdoses in one weekend and efforts to expand treatment options. This year, the News-Sun will take a deep dive into the community’s drug epidemic and what local leaders are doing to solve the problem.

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