Members of the Carter County Substance Abuse Prevention Committee met Aug. 14 to discuss ways to sustain the organization and to further reach community members, among other things.
Wichita Mountains Prevention Network coordinator Lisa Jackson distributed copies of the coalition’s sustainability plan to the members in attendance.
According to the CCSAPC’s sustainability plan outline, the committee has made great strides in its prevention goal of decreasing prescription drug misuse among 12-25 year olds. As a result, prescription drug overdose deaths have decreased over the last several years within the community.
However, many community members still lack the knowledge and understanding of the dangers of prescription drug misuse and sharing medications, the committee wrote.
“Carter County has limited resources due to its rural location, and finding funding is highly competitive. The coalition is currently working to address these challenges by creating a call to action plan to recruit more prevention partners, patrons and proponents,” the CCSAPC wrote in its sustainability plan.
During the meeting, committee members brainstormed ways to raise funds and encourage more community participation.
“We are very fortunate in this area to have some good foundations that we can write to for funding,” said Lighthouse Behavior Wellness Centers representative Wadonna Wells.
Some of these foundations include the Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the Bank of Oklahoma.
Because of some of the hurdles the coalition has faced in the past, Wichita Mountains Prevention Network contractor Cynthia Romine suggested the possibility of applying to become a 501c3 organization.
Others suggested hosting larger events and creating subcommittees to generate fundraising events like golf tournaments. In late September or October, the coalition is planning to host its 2nd annual Substance Abuse Memorial in partnership with Celebrate Recovery.
CCSAPC is also seeking to further host mobile and stationary drug take back events in order to reduce the social availability of prescriptions in the community. The next mobile take back event will be held in November.
Mobile take back events allow individuals who are elderly or disabled to properly disposed of their medications by calling law enforcement and having them pick up old medications, Jackson said.
Once the coalition is able to secure more funding they will once again be able to distribute medication lock boxes from local pharmacies.
After recently attending an Opioid and Marijuana Conference, Reed Family Pharmacy owner Dr. Rebecca Reed shared some new insights with the coalition.
Reed said the conference primarily focused on the neuroscience of addiction, with one of the biggest take-aways being that opioids work best for addressing the emotional aspects of pain.
Studies have shown that medications like ibuprofen actually have far more benefits when it comes to physical pain, Reed said.
Kevin Jackson, a representative from the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, also shared some insights he had on opioid abuse after attending the A-ONE Conference.
Jackson said the conference primarily addressed the enforcement aspects of the opioid epidemic and discussed Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, whereas Hunter is claiming that the company significantly contributed to thousands of opioid deaths through aggressive marketing.
A decision on the Johnson & Johnson case is expected within the next week, Jackson told the coalition. While learning about the case, Jackson said it was discovered that previous studies demonstrating that medications like ibuprofen are just as effective as opioids had disappeared.