Drug prevention group celebrates first year’s successes

Published 7:54 am Tuesday, October 6, 2015

This week, a local community action group, aimed to reduce drug abuse in the community, will celebrate their one year anniversary of being back in business after a two-year absence.
On Wednesday, Carter County Drug Prevention (CCDP) will host a celebration to recognize community partners and share first year successes. The event will take place from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Pine Room of the Elizabethton Wellness Center located at 1509 West Elk Ave. Theone-hour celebration will include an overview of coalition achievements, recognition of outstanding community partners, and a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be served.
CCDP re-organized in October of 2014 through the support of the East Tennessee State University Prescription Drug Abuse and Misuse Working Group after two years of inactivity. Composed of individuals from all sectors of the community, this collaborative group works to reduce substance abuse in Carter County.
In only one year, the motivated volunteers of CCDP have made exciting progress, including the establishment of a mission, vision, and logo, securing donated office space, the formation of strong community partnerships, and involvement in multiple projects and other efforts to reduce substance abuse and overdose deaths in the community.
In 2014, a thorough review of state and local data demonstrated that prescription drug abuse was the most pervasive and serious problem in the community, making it the primary target of CCDP efforts. Initial goals were to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse and its consequences and empower community members with evidence-based strategies to address the problem collectively.
To help achieve this, CCDP developed a presentation for community members and organizations with data on prescription drug abuse and priority issues for Carter County. The Carter County Commission’s Health and Welfare Committee, Elizabethton Rotary Club, Community Advisory Board, and the Elizabethton Women’s Civic Club are examples of audiences thus far.
CCDP is currently engaged in two programmatic efforts around prescription drug abuse. First, CCDP is implementing Count It! Lock It! Drop It!, a community-based prescription drug abuse prevention plan that encourages community members to count their medications every two weeks, lock them in a secure location, and dispose of any unused or expired medication properly. Lingerfelt Drug and Gift Center in Downtown Elizabethton was the first organization to sign up to participate in this important project.
Second, CCDP is implementing the Overdose Prevention Project (OPP), a grant funded by the Office of Minority Health and Disparities Elimination of the Tennessee Department of Health. This collaborative project includes CCDP, Carter County Health Department, and Red Legacy Recovery and aims to prevent death by opioid overdose in Carter County by raising community awareness of and access to Naloxone, a medication shown to save lives by reversing overdose.
Lastly, CCDP serves as a resource for local organizations whose primary mission is not substance abuse prevention.
Moving forward, CCDP will continue to pursue various funding sources to support and expand efforts, including an application to the Tennessee State Department of Health for Developing Coalition funding. CCDP will soon serve as a resource for young people in the community utilizing donated office space located at 546 E. Elk Avenue. Anticipated Grand Opening of the new space isDecember 2.
In the next few years, the coalition plans to broaden its focus to include additional substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. Finally, CCDP aims to increase and strengthen its partnerships at the local, regional, and state levels as a multi-faceted, multi-sector response is essential for reducing substance abuse.

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