Jason A Barr Why we celebrate Manchester man killed in single-car accident Adams County Election Results – 2017 Hubert Knauff To keep or not to keep Time again for the changing of the seasons November proclaimed as Adoption Recognition and Recruitment Month Local business is seven decades old and counting Local student gets Nashville call Senior Profile: Gabe Grooms Lady Indians fall in districts Quest For The Cup complete for Dragons Meeting a true sports hero WU’s McCarty named District Player of the Year With regional run, Pennywitt completes memorable career West Union eighth grade volleyball finishes as SHAC runner-up Senior Profile: Tray Brand Greyhounds drop home finale, finish at 4-6 Lady Devils fall in district semis Devils go down in district finals Matt Seas headed back to State XC Meet Senior Profile: Charlee Louden Lady Indians ousted in sectional final Lady Devils down Minford 4-1 in district semis North Adams volleyball claims fourth consecutive sectional crown Senior Profile: Brooklyn Howlett Afterschool fun begins at NAES Wearing it pink in October Kenneth L Austin Jay E Minnich Reuben E Hershberger Bobby L Williams 18 years just isn’t long enough Emotional, historic, and victorious Taking action against addiction Utilities commission approves DP&L electric security plan What matters and what doesn’t Oh dear, is that a deer? Junior Gaffin Charlotte J Thatcher Matthew D Miller Megan R Phillips Ralph M Swearingen Linda C Ackley Robert Ralston Shelly Seaman Increased access to treatment, Improving economic opportunity keys to combating Ohio’s Opioid Crisis Seas siblings are again SHAC Cross-Country Champions Lady Hounds cruise to sectional victory Senior Profile: Alyssa Hoskins 101 and another sectional championship Lady Indians claim sectional title North Adams tops Peebles for sectional soccer crown Senior Profile: Shay Boldman 13.5 seconds, heartbreak for West Union PHS JV Volleyball completes unbeaten season On the course that Nicklaus helped design On the ballot: Meigs Township Trustees West Union Christian Church will again be collection center for Operation Christmas Child Peebles voters will choose council members in upcoming election Seven candidates seek seats on ACOVSD school board A time for transformation What will future generations say? Finding all those treasures Janet K Campbell Robert D Hill Lady Devils blank West Union 7-0 in SHAC soccer finale Vikings invade and conquer the Greyhounds Outpouring of community support for local business woman with cancer Manchester mourns teen killed in single-car crash Kylie S Lucas Sharon R Grooms Steven L Wootten Forest J McDaniel Ralph O Grooms Adams County teenager dies in auto accident Charles N Vance Wesley M Baldwin James Kennedy Tom A Mihalovich Brand hat trick leads North Adams past West Union 5-2 in SHAC soccer action Senior Profile: Bryant Lung Lady Hounds pull off thrilling Senior Night win Volleyball milestones continue to pile up at North Adams Banner season for Lady Indians soccer SHAC holds Junior High Volleyball Tournament Tournament match ups set for volleyball and soccer Senior Profile: Morgan Edmisten Hounds dominate, improve to 3-4 Is this not the best time of the year? Volley For The Cure is another big success Getting everything we ask for Oh, that dreaded leaf project Manchester: Adams County’s oldest community looks to the future with hope Congressman visits Manchester’s newest business Six candidates vie for MLSD School Board Highway 41 road work stalls MFD holds annual Safety Day for kids, families Lenora Mckee

Taking action against addiction

Adams County Health Director William Hablitzel, left, and Adams County Common Pleas Judge Brett Spencer were speakers at last week’s Coalition for a Drug Free Adams County, held at West Union High School.

 

Local coalition strives to help recovering addicts, raise awareness, increase number of prevention programs – 

Story and photos by Patricia Beech – 

Members of the Coalition for a Drug Free Adams County met on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the West Union High School to discuss community initiatives for identifying, treating, and supporting recovery for those addicted to opiates, heroin, methamphetamine, and other life-altering drugs.
“We’re trying to develop a system that will connect addicts with people and resources that can help them through their recovery,” said Randy Chandler, the Coalition Director. “We need both faith-based and secular opportunities, we need volunteers, and we need life coaches and accountability partners who can connect with those who are going through recovery.”
In an effort to raise awareness about drug addiction, Chandler said the Coalition has recruited members from diverse sectors of the community such as employers, youth workers, faith community leaders, school administrators, teachers and counselors, public health and human services personnel, treatment professionals, law enforcement and county court services personnel, medical and social service fields, as well as other committed individuals, including people from the recovering community.
According to Chandler, these coalitions have “joined forces to disseminate relevant information, conduct visioning sessions, develop and implement action plans and programs, and conduct educational sessions and informational campaigns throughout their communities.”
Some of the speakers for Friday’s event included Carol Baden from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Adams County Common Pleas Court Judge Brett Spencer, Adams County Health Director Dr. William Hablitzel, and Senator Sherrod Brown via video.
Baden, the Ohio Attorney General’s Community Outreach Specialist, told those attending that Adams County and other adjacent counties that have been hit hard by the drug problem are on the verge of yet another epidemic.
“We closed down the pill mills that dispensed narcotic painkillers, then we saw heroin use escalate as a replacement drug,” she said. “Adams County is on the verge of an HIV epidemic driven by IV drug use – it’s not a question of if we will see an increase in HIV, it’s a matter of when.”
Health Director Hablitzel identified drug abuse and addiction as Adams County’s leading health problems followed by mental health disorders, cancer, obesity, nutrition and lack of physical activity, poverty, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease.
Citing a health department assessment survey conducted in the Adams County schools, he said that local students reported having higher than usual mental health issues. He warned against ignoring the direct link between drug abuse and mental health issues, specifically depression.
“We learned that a significant number of our students frequently feel sad and hopeless at a rate much higher than the national average,” said Hablitzel. “Not surprisingly, this same group of students are involved in more physical fights and report being bullied at a rate much higher than the state and national average.”

Randy Chandler, Director of the Coalition for a Drug Free Adams County, speaks to the assembled audience at last week’s forum held at West Union High School.

West Union high school principal Roger Taylor said that the self-submitted survey data points to the struggles of our local communities and risks that our students are taking.
“Do we have a substance problem to address? Over time drugs continue to evolve and change,” Taylor said. “I would argue that we have a hope and opportunity problem. While not necessarily causative, despair is undoubtedly a correlated antecedent to drug abuse.”
Taylor said the survey results should prompt a call to action in the education community.
“As educators, the spirit of our job description is to instill hope and to create more opportunities for children,” he said. “Perhaps we can make an impact on the problem.”
Speaking about the prevalence of the drug epidemic in Adams County, Judge Spencer said, “In Adams County, our problem right now isn’t opiates, it’s methamphetamine.”
Referencing his first murder trial as a sitting judge in Adams County Common Pleas Court, he recounted how a young man was convicted of killing, then burning the body of an acquaintance over $13 worth of methamphetamine.
The Judge’s account of the incident struck a chord with Principal Taylor, who had previously known the young man.
“The convicted murderer was at one point my neighbor, bus stop companion, classmate, and a friend,” said Taylor. “My family was much more intact, and he undoubtedly engaged in more risk-taking behavior than I did, however, he was in fact my peer. I remember seeing his face on the front page of the newspaper, and I knew at that point something had disturbed the innocence and tranquility of our county and local communities. From that time forward, I knew we had a problem without a clearly defined solution.”
Finding solutions, according to Chandler, is why the Coalition and its five subcommittees were founded.
“I’ve been a lot of places and seen a lot of things that prepared me for doing this job,” he says. “Finding the right people and helping them find their passion, giving them direction and guidance – that’s what this coalition is about – connecting people to resources that can turn their lives around.”

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