By Trish Burchette
Drug overdose rates from opioids misuse are at a crisis level in the United States and according to www.tn.gov overdose rates from Opioids have steadily risen in the East Tennessee region from 2013 to 2017.
The Federal Government is taking much-needed steps to combat the problems this drug is causing for local communities and many others in the Appalachian area, which is targeted as an epicenter for the epidemic.
The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioids Crisis stated that one of the most effective ways of fighting this epidemic at the ground level is working with local anti-drug coalitions.
In part the report read, “To achieve the desired ultimate outcome — reduction in drug use — the campaign needs the support of locally implemented evidence-based prevention programming. The campaign’s messaging needs to be integrated closely with local efforts and amplified by them. Local partners could include community coalitions, such as ONDCP’s Drug-Free Community grantees, schools, hospitals, law enforcement, businesses, religious institutions, and local government.
The Johnson County A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition has been working in the community to fight drug use and misuse along with substance use disorders for more than a decade.
Funded by a Drug-Free Community Grant, the organization has sought to garner the support of all sectors of the community and will continue to do so in 2019.
Unfortunately, they will no longer be receiving grant funds from the Drug-Free Community Grant program after September 2019.
Coalitions are only eligible for this grant for a maximum of 10 years, and A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition is in its tenth year and is actively seeking additional grant funding to continue this work in the community.
The organization is kicking off a membership drive in January 2019. Meetings will be held on the third Thursday of each month at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall at noon.
Some of the meetings will be in the evening to allow community members to be able to attend. Membership is free and open to anyone that lives in Johnson County.
“ACTION is a resource for everyone, from informing youth to the dangers of opioids use and what happens to the brain and the body to distributing conversation starters and lock boxes for medication to parents and grandparents,” said Denise Woods Prevention Coordinator. “We have a range of ways we can help our community tackle this epidemic.”
Project coordinator, Kandas Motsinger, further shared the vision of ACTION Coalition when she said, “We have to stand together for change to be brought about in our community. By educating our children and youth at an early age about the dangers of drug misuse, we can equip them to make better choices to live a drug-free lifestyle and break generational cycles of
substance use disorders. It is my hope to see my son grow up in a drug-free community.”
New project coordinator Roxanne Roedell, stated “I believe if we empower the youth and give them a platform, a new movement will take place among the youth of Johnson County and they can indeed become a drug-free generation. It’ll take a community, or as the saying goes a village, working together to combat this crisis and we hope the entire community will make 2019 the year they get involved.”
For more information on the A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition, please visit our website at www.actioncoalition.org visit our Facebook [email protected] or call us at 423-727-0780.