Over the course of the past two years, the Carter County Substance Abuse Prevention Committee has seen tangible evidence of positive effects on the community.
The committee began using funds from the Partnership for Success grant, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  and Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, to address substance abuse prevention initiatives in 2017.
Funding from the grant is coming to an end in October 2019, however, during the time it was in place, the committee was able to achieve many accomplishments, said Wichita Mountains Prevention Network prevention coordinator Lisa Jackson.
As of Sept. 11, the committee distributed 1,082 medication lock boxes and bags, Jackson said. 3,300 lock boxes were distributed statewide, with Carter County making up a large portion of that number.
Medication lock boxes help keep controlled drugs like painkillers out of the wrong hands and help prevent overdoses. “You don’t know how many lives we have saved by giving out those lock boxes,” said committee member and Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers representative Wadonna Wells.
During the two year period the grant was in place, the committee was also able to distribute 597 medication disposal systems and take away envelopes for individuals to properly dispose of their old, expired medications, Jackson said.
Additionally, 398 community members, including law enforcement and coalition members received mental health training during that time, Jackson said. And the average attendance at the CCSAPC meetings increased greatly, from around three people in Dec. 2018 to 15 in Sep. 2019.
With funds from the Partnership for Success grant ceasing soon, the committee is seeking new ways to raise funds. “The funds are not there for us to purchase the amount (of medication lock boxes) that we had,” Jackson said.
One avenue the committee is planning on exploring is the creation of a fundraising committee which will help plan future events. The CCSAPC also has plans for building a youth coalition in the near future.