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Opioid Crisis Next Door Conference Focuses on Coalition-Building, Prevention and Treatment


Several staff of Taylorville Memorial Hospital along with three members of the Executive Committee of the Christian County Prevention Coalition were among the 150-plus in attendance during the Opioid Crisis Next Door Conference, “Keeping the Momentum: Are We Hitting the Mark?” held Wednesday, June 27 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, IL.

The Opioid Crisis Next Door conferences were organized in an effort to increase awareness of the rapidly growing problem of opioid and heroin use in rural communities and the lack of community response.  Together, the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Rural Health and the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) partnered to bring the healthcare community, local organizations and teams of concerned citizens together to assist in the fight.

“We initiated this process of creating, building and maintaining coalitions to combat the ever-growing opioid crisis across the nation,” said Pat Schou, FACHE, ICAHN Executive Director.  “Since June of 2016, we’ve made it our mission to bring local coalitions, schools, health departments, law enforcement, healthcare providers and other community stakeholders together in an effort to combat opioid misuse, heroin use and other substance use disorders.  Seeing our progress in this work, just two years later, is encouraging and hopefully, saving people’s lives.”

Among the day’s presenters were Dr. Omar Manejwala, psychiatrist and national speaker; Amy Daum, Lead Counselor, Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery; Jim Allmon, Illinois Coroner’s Association; Kourtnaye Sturgeon, Overdose Lifeline, Indianapolis; and Adam Kohlrus, Illinois Health and Hospital Association’s Institute for Innovations in Care and Quality.  Break-out sessions focused on narcan education, coalition-building, practitioner care and emergency department prescribing guidelines.  A survivor also told of his journey from rock bottom to recovery.

“The process has just begun.  When each of you returns to your community, you have been charged with keeping this momentum alive,” said Schou.  “We continue to seek funding for local treatment centers in rural America, and we can only accomplish this by working together.”

Locally, the Christian County Prevention Coalition is a group of concerned individuals who work to create a community free of abuse by our youth of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.  Everyone is welcome to attend the Christian County Prevention Coalition meetings.  The next meeting will be held on July 25, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. in the Janice Hopper Auditorium at Taylorville Memorial Hospital where they will be discussing the new Safe Passages program.