To discuss the issue of prescription drug abuse as well as receive local feedback, the Mason County Family Resource Network is hosting a community drug forum at 4 p.m. this afternoon. The forum will take place at the Mason County Courthouse Annex.
Today’s forum will mark the second of a series of five. The first prescription drug forum was hosted by Wayne Bailey of the Mason County Homeless Shelter.
The FRN received a grant of $5,000 to host the prescription drug forums, which also are being sponsored by the West Virginia Prevention Resource Center, West Virginia Center of Civic Life and the West Virginia Partnership to Promote Community Well-Being. Several local organizations also are sponsoring the forums. Greg Fowler, FRN executive director, said that the forum series will discuss the misuse of prescription drugs. Strategies to prevent the prescription drug problem in both the community and state also will be discussed.
According to Fowler, over the past decade the abuse of prescription drugs in West Virginia has increased among adults and youth, which has led to profoundly negative impacts on individuals, families and communities throughout the area. He described prescription drug abuse as being an extremely complex issue that requires the involvement of nearly every sector in the community, including law enforcement, education, health care, churches, businesses, neighbors, government and social services. The upcoming forums’ purpose are to bring together Mason County residents of diverse backgrounds and to have them set directions for improving the local quality of life.
“The discussions will bring together members of the community in thoughtful conversations about what can be done. A neutral moderator will lead participants in a discussion of several approaches to address prescription drug abuse in an atmosphere that encourages respectful sharing of different perspectives,” Fowler said. “An issue guide will be available with background information about the issue. The ideas for action that surface in the community discussion will be brought together in a county-wide Prescription Drug Abuse Summit in September.”
He added that the long-term outcome of the prescription drug forums is to increase knowledge and skill in recruiting and retaining community volunteers to work on task teams, which will address prescription drug abuse in communities. Another goal of the program is to gain the skills needed to use public dialogue effectively in addressing community problems.
“By the end of a forum, people will have discovered where they agree, where they disagree and why. This helps set the stage for people to work together on the issue. There are no quick and easy solutions for complex public problems, but there are steps that people can begin to take to address them. Forums give people the opportunity to share their ideas and decide what they want to do next, individually and/or together,” Fowler said.
For information on the community forums, contact Fowler at 304-593-0072.