Bad weather washed out the International Overdose Awareness Day event scheduled for Aug. 31. Although a memorial walk tied to it was still carried out and 30 people were trained in the use of Narcan, it led to this event to reach even more people.
“A Night of Hope” also coincides with the local First Responder Week of Appreciation, which includes mental health treatment and recovery professionals and peer supporters for the first time.
“In our community, people asked what these connections do and this is a wonderful time to come out and see,” said Carey McKee of Clark County Partners in Prevention. “We’ve been able to grow the event with Celebrate Recovery Month.”
“A Night of Hope” is set up to inform families and individuals.
Along with information on various sources for recovery, treatment and prevention and professionals who can answer questions, the event will have interactive offerings. A “Hidden in Plain Sight Room” will educate parents on current trends youth could be using to hide various substances, such as a water bottle with a hidden compartment. Emily Magoteaux, an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant, will host the room.
The Clark County Combined Health Department’s Safe Communities will sponsor a drunk driving simulator, giving an idea of the dangers.
There will also be examples of how recovery efforts are directly working in our community including a local artist painting live at the event as part of her recovery, Recovery X, a local recovery gym and DARE officers.
Project Dawn will provide free Narcan distribution and overdose awareness training.
Several organizations and individuals will also be recognized for their recovery and prevention efforts over the past several years with Ohio State Representative Kyle Koehler’s office presenting these.
Agencies being honored include Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties, Mercy Health Reach Services and the Clark County Combined Health District.
Individuals receiving recognition are Wendy Doolittle, CEO McKinley Hall and First Task Force coordinator and Coalition Coordinator for Substance Abuse; Kelly Binegar, Clark County Project Dawn program coordinator; Trish Williams-Chase, Friends of Addicts and organizer of the first Overdose Awareness Night in Clark County; and Kristina Downing, COO of Express Employment and Coalition Business Sector Advocate for prevention, treatment and recovery.
A community health improvement plan has led the community to add two health coalitions and they are partnering for these opportunities. McKee said she hopes having more events such as this and Overdose Awareness Day will mean more opportunities to community members in need.
“It helps reduce the stigma. We are there to support you and prevent it and events like these help get that message out to understand the dangers,” she said.
For more information on “A Night of Hope,” visit the Clark County Substance Abuse Coalition and Clark County Partners in Prevention web pages.