A substance abuse coalition is forming as a result of the Community Health Assessment from the Clark County Combined Health District.
“Several health issues were identified; substance abuse is one of them,” said Dr. Richard Marsh, Clark County coroner.
According to the assessment, 7.2 percent of respondents said that they have used drugs within the past 6 months. Marijuana was the only drug mentioned by the respondents.
Last year, there were 39 deaths due to drug overdoses in Clark County, according to Wendy Doolittle, chief executive officer at McKinnley Hall.
One of the goals for the new coalition is to educate the community about the harm of substance abuse and addiction.
The group will fight alongside law enforcement in order to stop substance abuse.
“Just because we shut down the supply doesn’t mean people aren’t taking drugs,” said Charles Patterson, health commissioner at the Clark County Combined Health District.
As the coalition forms, it will use 12 sectors of people with different occupations.
“It pulls together several folks in the community who work with the population,” said Doolittle.
One of the representatives they are looking for is a student council president from one of the high schools to fulfill the position of a youth representative.
To further examine substance abuse problems, there will be a Cedarville University research student assisting. The student will gather data from other counties and look at them in comparison with Clark County.
“It’s plaguing every area of our community,” said Doolittle.
The coalition will work closely with Children’s Services and Rocking Horse, as babies have tested positive for drugs when they are born.
According to the assessment, two women said that they have taken street drugs while they were pregnant.
“I’m looking forward to this group,” said Doolittle. “I really do hope we meet the goals we’re looking at.”
The coalition is new for Clark County; the only other local drug prevention group is the opiate task force.
Substance abuse is more than public and personal health, said Patterson. The economy is a factor, and the crime that occurs is also a problem because abusers steal from their friends, families and neighbors.