EvansvilleHenderson CountyIndiana

Substance Abuse Task Force Working Through Beginning Stages

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says substance abuse is a problem that effects nearly every familiar in our community. He showed his commitment to stopping the every growing drug problem last August when he rebranded the “No Meth Task Force” to the “Mayor’s Substance Abuse Task Force.”

The new scope of the project showed signs that the meth lab problem in Evansville was on the way out, but the substance abuse problem is here to stay.

The substance abuse task force is made up of as many community members as government officials. They were at Fairlawn United Methodist Church Wednesday for a traveling town hall on substance abuse.

The town hall gave Dr. William Wooten, the chair of the task force, a chance to update on the progress they have made so far. He says the project is still in the beginning stages but they are making great progress.

One of the big challenges they have faced is trying to diagnose the problem. Wooten says they are working on a database to keep track of demographics of drug abusers so they can find the best, most personalized ways to fight this problem.

Members of the task force were pleased with a website that has many resources for those addicted to drugs, their families and those who want to help. It can be found here at msatf.org.

Both the mayor and Dr. Wooten say this problem can’t be fixed with local government alone, and that’s one of the reasons they recruited community members to the task force.

One of those community members is Andrea Grace Phillips. She is working on FAST, family addiction support teams. Phillips is training families to go into hospitals the moments after someone recovers after overdosing. She says this time is key for someone to get help, because only about 6 to 8 percent seek help immediately. What she says is different about FAST is that they will also give resource to members of the family of the person who overdosed.

Also discussed at the travelling town hall, was a trip Mayor Winnecke and Dr. Wooten took to WARM, the Women’s Addiction Recovery Manor in Henderson. they both liked what they saw, and how it was funded. They say the Commonwealth foots much of the bill, and they are curious if Indiana would do the same. So the next time Mayor Winnecke goes he says he’ll be bringing along Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, to see if Evansville could be home to a program like that.

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