WILMINGTON — You’re encouraged to take a survey at the Banana Split Festival or county fair to assist the coalition H.E.L.P. Clinton County collect data that, in turn, can help make H.E.L.P. eligible for a $125,000 per year, five-year Drug-Free Communities Grant.
The anonymous survey will be available at the summer events at the Solutions Community Counseling and Recovery Centers (CCRC) table. It will include about 15 questions and take three or four minutes to complete on an electronic tablet, said James Syphax, coalition coordinator.
In addition to the potential for the grant, the data will help guide the coalition’s decision-making process.
“What it [taking the survey] can do for the coalition and the community is big,” Syphax said.
An average 12 to 15 people attend the monthly coalition meetings, and include a cross-section of law enforcement, government agencies, treatment providers, the business community and religious organizations.
The coalition tries to advance collaboration among community members for taking positive action against the local substance abuse problem, he said.
“We want to be that catalyst to bring everyone together, make sure everyone is on the same page moving forward, and that we’re taking it in stride,” said Syphax, who has nine years experience in the drug and alcohol field.
H.E.L.P. Clinton County was instrumental in preparing a 46-page report in December 2016 concerning the local opioid crisis. More recently, it’s been involved with obtaining and distributing biodegradable, drug-deactivation and disposal pouches to have fewer excess drugs in the community, and with creating a collaborative pool of data for itself and others to use to apply for drug-related grants.
“It’s amazing how much law enforcement information data that a [professional] prevention person needs to write a grant, and vice versa,” said Syphax.
One of the charcoal-based pouches will hold up to 45 pills or six ounces of liquid or six medication patches. Place the unused medications in the pouch, fill halfway with water, seal and gently shake the pouch and dispose of in normal trash.
It deactivates the active ingredients in the drugs and makes them unusable. It is landfill-safe while neutralizing the pills, liquids or patches — part of the overall effort to prevent substance abuse, Syphax said.
He wants residents to know they don’t have to be an expert or professional to attend the coalition meetings, and they don’t have to come to every meeting.
“Come talk to us,” he invites.
He wants the coalition to engage the youth sector in the community. Syphax mentioned finding school partners that will let the coalition work in their school to build a youth coalition.
“A lot of what we’re doing is for youth consumers,” he added.
“Also when you work with the young on the importance of prevention, they have the ability to become change agents in a system that I don’t have access to.”
Syphax believes that H.E.L.P. Clinton County, through having the support of Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton Counties as well as of Solutions CCRC, is well poised to become an agent of change in the county.
The Health Education, Leadership, and Prevention (H.E.L.P.) Coalition of Clinton County meets on the third Thursday of the month at the Wilmington Public Library from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m.
For more information, please contact James Syphax at 937-481-3037.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.