The Alliance for a Drug-Free Owensboro-Daviess County met Wednesday to continue their monthly work in action teams targeting problem areas within the community.
Dr. RonSonlyn Clark, senior director of substance abuse services at RiverValley Behavioral Health, discussed the methamphetamine forum being presented to the community free of charge on Sept. 10 at St. Joseph and Paul Parish Hall from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Joining with various community partners to educate on the the prevalence of methamphetamines in the area, Clark hopes that the community will see the cost involved with the community’s meth problem. She said it is not only the monetary cost associated with drugs but also the effect on the family, child and business as well as the long-term problems placed on the community.
Sergeant Michael Nichols of Owensboro Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit will provide statistics and facts of how Owensboro and Daviess County are impacted by methamphetamine.
After Nichols’ presentation, a panel consisting of Nichols, Clark, Danielle Thurman and Judge Lisa Jones will be available to answer questions.
“National Recovery Month is September,” Clark said of the push to make this forum the biggest the alliance has had.
The forum is sponsored by City Commissioner Larry Conder and his wife, Rosemary. Conder is on the steering committee for the alliance, along with Owensboro Police Department Deputy Chief Jeff Speed, Judge-Executive Al Mattingly and Sheriff Keith Cain.
“I just want people to see the emergency that is happening,” Conder said. “We think of drugs and the opioid crisis, but that is more eastern [Kentucky]. Our issue is meth.”
Conder said that currently, meth is cheaper to purchase than a 12-pack of beer and although meth used to be manufactured locally, it is coming in “better and stronger from Mexico.”
By sponsoring this forum for the public, Conder hopes to raise awareness and educate the public.
“People might be surprised it is in their backyard,” Conder said, adding that he hoped the forum would shed light on a problem that many in the community don’t want to see.
The action teams also identified ways they are working to bring information to the community concerning prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana and tobacco, including juuling.
The tobacco and alcohol teams discussed their plans to continue working with local schools to identify ages of users and to provide a curriculum to help educate the youth.
Jeff Howard, who serves on the alcohol action team said that eighth grade is the biggest indicator of when alcohol use begins.
“We want to be a presence in the schools,” Howard said of the programs they hope to help implement locally. “It will make a big difference in their [the students’] perception.”
The next alliance meeting is Sept. 18.