Community Conversation on Substance Abuse to be Held

By Colleen Rowan BRIDGEPORT—Continuing its efforts combating West Virginia’s opioid crisis, All Saints Parish in Bridgeport will host the eighth installment of Community Conversation on Substance Abuse focusing on “What’s Happening Now” Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

U.S. Attorney William Powell of Wheeling will be the keynote speaker, and will talk about his efforts in the opioid crisis and the effectiveness of drug courts. Since its inception in 2016, Community Conversation has hosted speakers from state and local government, law enforcement, health care leaders and organizers of prevention and recovery groups. New this year will be an hour set aside before the event begins where individuals can meet one on one with addiction specialists. The special hour beings at 5 p.m.

“If there is just one person that comes and they find an answer to one of their problems or for someone in their family it will be worthwhile,” said Ellen Condron, associate professor of nursing and coordinator of mental health nursing at Fairmont State University and All Saints parishioner who started Community Conversations. “We have a multitude of exhibitors from various treatment centers and agencies.”

Present to meet one on one will be officials that work in child care and provide services for children. They will be present for grandparents raising grandchildren, or those raising younger siblings because of parents’ incarceration or overdose. There will also be a specialist who will talk about proper use of Narcan, which is the drug used to treat narcotic overdose, and where to purchase it. There will also be representatives from Harrison County drug courts for both adults and juveniles as well as suicide prevention agencies. The main event begins at 6 p.m. and will feature the above mentioned as well as a viewing of excerpts from the Netflix film” Recovery Boys,” a documentary on three young men receiving treatment at the addiction treatment center Jacob’s Ladder Substance Abuse Treatment Center in Aurora, located in southern West Virginia. The men who appeared in the film will be at Community Conversation to tell their stories with comments from former staff and alumni from Jacob’s Ladder. The men will also be available during the hour before the event begins. Also speaking and available during the special hour before the event will be a pharmaceutical company representative discussing the treatment of addiction with the drugs Vivitrol and Suboxone.

“What we’re trying to do is fill in the gap of how this process is supposed to work,” Condron said. “We hear about the prevention efforts and efforts of law enforcement … and then you hear about recovery and there is very little talk about treatment.” She noted the West Virginia Help Line where one can get detox and treatment with six to eight hours: 1-844-HELP4WV. “We started promoting them from the very beginning at our conversations and they have said they really noticed a great increase in the number of phone calls from people in Harrison County.”

Community Conversation is being co-sponsored with the Harrison County Family Resource Network and the Harrison County Prevention Partnership. Condron said that Anna Smucker of the All Saints Community Outreach and Social Justice committees helps organize the event as well. Other presetners will be Harrison County Sheriff Robert Matheney; Dr. Jen Reyes, PhD, ALPS, LPC; Regina Patton, TBM, Alkermes, Inv; and former staff and alumni from Jacob’s Ladder. For more infomation, contact Condron at: econdron@fairmontstate.edu.

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