RACINE, Ohio — “We all have an opportunity to write our own history.”
Those were the closing remarks from Jason Simpkins at Thursday night’s 2012 Town Hall Meeting for Underage Drinking Prevention and Drug Problems in Our Community, presented by the Prayer Task Force for the Meigs, Southern, Eastern, and Wahama Schools communities. Held at the Racine Baptist Church Outreach Building, Simpkins was one of many speakers who discussed the issues of drugs and underage drinking in our local communities, and how those struggling with addiction can seek help.
Dr. Doug Hunter, Meigs County Coroner and Physician, spoke at the meeting and discussed how his job works when it comes to identifying drug use. When a person passes away, Hunter must determine the cause of death, which could be a number of things. He said there were five different classifications when it came to determining the cause of death, and those were natural causes, homicide, suicide, accidental, and unknown. If drugs or alcohol are suspected to have been a cause, prior to sending the deceased for an autopsy, Hunter investigates the cause of death by inspecting the circumstances and environment of the deceased. He went on to say that if drugs were involved, it is often reflected in the condition of the person’s house and their belongings. He described a few instances where a person has overdosed, and simply lookd like they had just fallen asleep.
“A lot of these people just aren’t thinking,” Hunter said.
Since Hunter is also a physician, he also discussed how he is sometimes uneasy when it comes to writing prescriptions. He added that when people are addicted to drugs, it not only affects themselves, but all the people around them. He stated that addicts will steal from anyone they know in order to get their fix, because the drugs are that powerful.
“No one plans on becoming a drug addict,” Hunter said. He encouraged parents to talk to their children about drugs and alcohol, and added that kids as young at 6th grade have started using.
Also speaking at the meeting was Steve Kane, Director of the Meigs County Major Crimes Task Force. Kane discussed the different kinds of drugs that were being used in our local communities, and the different ways they are used. He covered the history of the some of the drug use in the area, and the history of some of the drugs themselves. He also described several “drug busts” that he had worked on and how simple some of the items that were used to make the drugs. Items included common things from the local hardware store, such as cleaning materials and batteries.
During a question and answer session with Kane, there was a question concerning what to look for if someone suspects drug use in their neighborhood. Kane went on to explain that normal everyday citizens can become detectives themselves, keeping track of certain cars and their license plates, what the suspected people look like, and what time they are always around. Kane said that this simple information has been useful in the past when it came to getting warrants.
Also speaking about some local efforts to help those who are struggling with addiction were Jay Proffitt and Nancy Hill. Proffitt stated that a big support system is the person’s family. He went on to say that a lot of people want the addicts to go to rehab, but they may not be prepared to provide the needed support long after rehab is over.
“It’s not something you can just quit,” Proffitt said.
Hill also talked about an organization called SOLACE, which stands for Surviving Our Loss and Continuing Everyday. Hill talked about her son who struggles with addiction and how she has used SOLACE, and her passion to help people to help end this problem in our communities. According to a brochure, those involved with SOLACE are working to end the crisis with substance abuse, specifically prescription drug and opiate addiction in all Ohio communities by providing support to individuals and families affected by addiction.
“No addict wants to be an addict,” Hill added. For more information on SOLACE, visit www.DrugFreeActionAlliance.org/Solace, or call 614-540-9985.
The evening also consisted of three Christian based dramas from the Sanctify Drama Team from the Vinton Baptist Church in Gallia County. The team portrayed several different scenarios including those suffering from different kinds of addiction, such as drinking and drugs, and also what those lifestyles could potentially lead to, such as unwanted pregnancies and various health problems, and even death.
The next public event by the Prayer Task Force will be from 7-9 p.m. on Friday May 4 at the Pomeroy Parking Lot, and will consist of praise, music, and testimony to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Prayer Task Force.