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Local community leaders have come together to form the Portage Substance Abuse Community Coalition to prevent and treat substance use disorders as well as advocating for funds and policies to address addiction.
"Our coalition views the opiate epidemic as a community health crisis given the high number of overdoses and deaths," said Joel Mowrey, PhD, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board. "However, we also focus on other substance use disorders, particularly alcohol, as many of our residents are struggling with addictions other than opiates."
The Portage County Community Health Status Assessment report, published last year by the Portage County Health District, provided a comprehensive look at the health and well-being of Portage County residents. From this data, five priorities were identified for the community to address -- one of which is to decrease substance abuse. The Substance Abuse Community Coalition is working to address this community health issue in the areas of treatment, prevention, and advocacy.
Member organizations include the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, Portage County Health District, University Hospitals, Kent Health Department, Coleman Professional Services, Family & Community Services, Townhall II, Job & Family Services, OhioCAN, Windsor Laurelwood, Summit Psychological Associates, Cover2 Resources, and Start Talking Portage as well as community members.
The group meets at 1 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at the Kent Free Public Library. Meetings are open to the public.