The Truth About Drugs.
The Warren County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) is working to educate the public about the realities of drug addiction. In particular, the group is hoping to help medical professionals understand the problems and learn ways they can help.
Dr. Carl Sullivan, director of West Virginia University’s addictions program, will speak at a CJAB event to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Warren Holiday Inn.
The event is open to the public and CJAB members hope people who need to know how to help a family member or friend with an addiction, those who want to know why it was so difficult for someone they know to overcome their addiction, or why people with addictions do the things they do. It is appropriate for people who need “to know how vicious this disease is,” Youngsville Borough Police Chief Todd Mineweaser, a CJAB member, said. “The first step is education.”
Educating the public is part of that beginning. Another part is educating those with the power to limit the number of prescription medications in circulation.
“If we can get people who can write a prescription to think more before they write it…” Mineweaser said.
Some people who sell drugs go to doctor after doctor and pharmacy after pharmacy picking up prescriptions and drugs, he said.
Mineweaser suggested that doctors, if they were made aware of the severity of the prescription drug abuse problem, could in some cases prescribe lower doses, fewer pills and eliminate refills.
That’s where Sullivan comes in. “He’ll give some hard core facts to them,” Mineweaser said. “He’s going to talk about these opiates – side effects, alternatives.”
“I think what we’re trying to do is wake up the medical community,” Warren County Commissioner and CJAB member Terry Hawk said. “They can effect a change we can’t.”
The group was not blaming the medical professionals for the problem. Communication between different groups is often a major part of the problem. Forest-Warren Human Services Director Mary Kushner said Warren General Hospital is working to simplify those kinds of operations by bringing everything together in one computer system.
Doctors who don’t have specialized training in addiction often don’t understand the severity of the problem, a member said.
“A lot of people don’t understand how powerful these drug addictions are,” Mineweaser said. “We want to share with them how potent this life-changing addiction is. It ruins families. It destroys lives.”
Sullivan’s efforts will be complemented by presentations made by others during the Truth About Drugs event.
An officer of the court is expected to speak on the frequency that drug-related cases come through the court system and the seriousness and impact of those cases.
Also, recovering addicts will give personal testimonials.
“Somebody who has been an addict… can share the truth: how hard it was, what they went through, what their family went through,” Mineweaser said.
Hearing the Truth About Drugs might help friends and family members know how to help a loved one with a problem or help someone at risk understand the dangers of drugs.
Beacon Light is providing the financial support that makes the event possible, Mineweaser said, and Warren General Hospital is also behind the effort.
“If we can get people better educated, we might be able to help Warren County out,” Mineweaser said. “We’re not going to stop it, but we can put a huge dent in it.”