EATON — On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership (S.A.P.P) will be hosting a town hall meeting at the Preble County Council on Aging. The meeting will focus on the use of heroin and other drugs in Preble County.
The meeting will last from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Senior Center located at 800 E. St. Clair Street in Eaton.
The program will feature personal testimonies from local residents and their experiences of addiction, along with representatives for Vivitrol, a new medication used to battle heroin and other opium addictions, according S.A.P.P board member Jerri Lynn Stanley.
The meeting will also feature local statistics presented by the Eaton Police Division and the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, and educational information that Stanley says is ideal for parents, teachers and all community members.
The meeting will be open to the public. Citizens will be able to learn more about local treatment options and learn more about the disease of drug addiction Stanley said.
According to Stanley, the goal of S.A.P.P. and the meeting is to properly educate the community about drugs and addiction.
The program will not only cover the use of heroin but other drugs affecting the community, including methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, prescription medication and alcohol according to Mike Spitler, Chief Deputy for the Preble County Sheriff, who is also a member of S.A.P.P.
Spitler says it is important people understand S.A.P.P, and the town hall is meant to provide an environment where people can safely and openly discuss the issue.
“Nobody is in this to judge or pass judgment,” he said. “We want people to feel they can come in and discuss issues. Again, this isn’t necessarily only for a person with an addiction or families affected by it, but it is also for people to come in and get educated.”
The program comes after S.A.P.P’s inception about 18 months ago. Spitler and Stanley said the first goal of the partnership was to find a way to educate the public on the drug epidemic currently being seen statewide, especially the heroin epidemic.
The S.A.P.P. consists of several local entities and private citizens who are seeking solutions in drug prevention, education and rehabilitation, including county schools, churches, cities and villages, police and other agencies located throughout Preble County.
Spitler said S.A.P.P is also focused on how to improve the current system in place for those dealing with drug addictions.
“There are a lot of things that need to be worked on,” he said. “It’s more than education, it is hopefully discovering ways the system can work better together, a better flow of things — when someone gets in the system, how do we make sure they don’t fall through the cracks — instead we give them an opportunity to seek help and find support for families.”
Stanley said the committee is focusing on how to provide support as a community.
“It helps when everybody in the community is united and we are on the same page and working as team,” she said. “That’s our goal as committee, to work as a team with all the agencies coming together with the same goal of helping people.”
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.