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Opiate summit looks at what's working where

By Sara Nealeigh, Chillicothe Gazette

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Circleville, August 17, 2016 | comments
CIRCLEVILLE - Representatives of Ross County and Chillicothe attended an opiate summit Wednesday to discuss what they're doing in the community and hear about what's working in others.
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CIRCLEVILLE - Representatives of Ross County and Chillicothe attended an opiate summit Wednesday to discuss what they're doing in the community and hear about what's working in others.

The fourth opioid summit, hosted by U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, invited organizations and people from throughout Ohio's 15th District to participate in a discussion about what is being done and what needs addressed in the fight against opioid addiction.

"I'm so proud of all the things that have been going on, but Ross County and Chillicothe have been a real leader in the fight against this opioid epidemic out there," Stivers said.

In Ross County, Stivers noted efforts in the Keys to Success program at Chillicothe High School; Centering Pregnancy, a program at Adena Regional Medical Center for pregnant women who are struggling with addiction; the Heroin Partnership Program; and the Ross County Sheriff's drug take-back program.

"Those are some of the things that are going on in Ross County that we're really excited about and need to make sure get passed on to folks all around the state because they can learn from what's going on in Ross County," Stivers said.

Representatives of programs and organizations outside Ross County were able to discuss their own efforts.

"I was really impressed with all the participants and how committed the different communities are to tackle the heroin epidemic in not only their communities but across the state," said Teri Minney, coordinator of the Heroin Partnership Project.

Kim Jones, Adena's community health director, also was grateful to hear about projects in other areas.

"You actually could take some of these things that they're doing, and replicating it, that makes it much easier. And finding out where they got the funding to do it, all the back end stuff that makes it so hard," Jones said.

Stivers invited the summit's participants to think about paying for success based on performance in programs, and he passed out information on available grant funds and key legislation, including the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Attendees divided into four groups to directly address discussions on criminal justice, housing and employment, prevention, and treatment. The format was different than in years past, where the discussion has been styled as a roundtable.

"It allowed each individual area to dig deeper, and I think we probably got more participation because we essentially got four hours of discussion in one hour. But what was lost was the cross-talk between the areas so we're going to try to relook at it again and see if we can improve it even more. But I'm glad we let people try a new format," Stivers said.

The groups came together for the last half-hour of the summit to address some of their main talking points after the subsets allowed them to discuss what each organization represented was doing and what was needed in their own communities.

"For me, for sure, it's figuring out how to make sure we deal with funding for treatment. It is figuring out what we do to make sure that naloxone is available to local law enforcement and first responders to save lives of people that have overdosed. And we only talked about it a little bit, but this whole idea of re-entry and making sure that people are in recovery and come out of recovery can get a job and can go to school and have an opportunity at a second chance," Stivers said.

"This is really about a culture change, not just a law enforcement initiative but a culture change to combat drug addiction, and it takes all members of a community to do that," Minney said.

Stivers said he now has his do-to list for the next year.
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