Health dept. sets goals to tackle substance abuse
By Glenn McGlothlin
The Jessamine County Health Department is working to curtail substance abuse by raising awareness, creating goals and taking action on the issue.
Randy Gooch, Jessamine County public health director, said five goals have been set by the Health and Safety Committees Substance Abuse Workgroup and the Agency for Substance Abuse Policy.
The goals, according to Health Educator Shana Peterson, are to reduce access to drugs, reduce inappropriate drug use, intervene in drug overdose situations, effectively prevent substance abuse, intervene early with treatment and increase marketing to raise awareness of the issue.
Peterson stressed the importance of educating the community and also engaging the medical community and pharmacies, while Gooch also placed a high value on awareness.
“This awareness is imperative to divert the illegal use of prescription drugs (because) we know three out of four people with a heroin addiction began by using prescription drugs,” Gooch said.
Peterson said the health department is planning to expand access to and marketing of Naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, to help with overdose intervention.
To help prevent substance abuse, Peterson said the D.A.R.E. program, and other educational programs at schools will be promoted as well as increased awareness of community and faith-based youth programming for at-risk children.
To stop substance abuse early, the health department will work with those who struggle with addiction and those with family members living with someone with an addiction, Peterson said.
Gooch said the fight against substance abuse takes more than just one organization, and he encourages anyone who is interested to join.
“This epidemic will not be resolved by one agency alone; but by our community’s acknowledgment of the problem, our willingness to work together and our willingness to provide needed resources in meeting the needs of those suffering from this horrible disease as well as the families suffering with their loved ones,” Gooch said.
For those seeking immediate help visit findhelpnowky.org to locate treatment and find more information on available assistance.