It’s not going away. It’s not going to disappear. The opioid crisis is entrenched in communities across our nation and right here in our own backyards. It demands our attention. In my experience, I continuously hear from people with loved ones struggling with addiction asking, "Where can we get help? Where can we turn?" In turn, others ask, "What can we do? How can we help?" It is time to better connect the people who need help with the people willing and able to provide it. It is only through a more efficient and effective channel of communication that we can get people care and end this epidemic.
The 98th House District has many associations available to those looking for help, and they are always looking to take on volunteers. We truly have to come together as one, as a community in order to look toward a healthier future. The Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition does great work in accomplishing the goal of reducing substance abuse among the youth in our county. For example, their "Got Your Back" Ohio Drug-Free Initiative is a social media campaign that encourages children to remain drug-free and remind them that the cool thing to do is to just say no. More information about the coalition’s efforts and how they can help connect people with the right resources can be found at www.adc-tusc.com.
Another great resource for families in need in eastern Ohio is Personal and Family Counseling Services (PFCS), an organization that is dedicated to building strong families, especially in the midst of turmoil that can wreak havoc on a family, like addiction. They have a wealth of programs available for individuals with addiction who are ready to get help, including a drug and alcohol education support group that meets twice a month to help the family members of those who are addicted.
Our statewide ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services) Boards also go above and beyond to help Ohioans and their families who are in the depths of addiction. These boards are a primary resource for you or someone you know, connecting those in need with care, like rehabilitation and mental health stabilization centers. The ADAMHS Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties and the Mental Health Recovery Board of Wayne and Holmes Counties specifically serve our area. They each have a 24-hour crisis line for those in immediate need, which can be contacted at 330-343-1811 or 330-264-9029, respectively.
At the end of the day, this issue requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, a combination of state funds, community support, and your help to get out a drug-free message. Through these efforts, I believe we can get those struggling the help and care they need and prevent this epidemic from further affecting our youth. "Got Your Back" is not just a catchphrase. It’s a mission to support all impacted by this crisis. If you ever need help finding a resource close to you or have questions about what the state is doing to combat the opioid crisis, don’t hesitate to call my office at 614-466-8035. I’ve got your back too.
(Al Landis is an Ohio state representative).