Continuing education for health professionals helps physicians, dentists, podiatrists, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, and behavioral health professionals: prevent the onset of illegal and illicit opioid use by their patients, wean their patients from opioids, and guide their patients to enter treatment. The Coalition held a continuing medical education program in October 2016, several sessions through the CaroMont Health Education and Networking Program on June 2017, and a continuing education program in January 2019. The Coalition arranges and conducts these programs with support from CaroMont Health, Gaston Family Health Services, Community Health Partners, Partners Behavioral Health Management, and Austin’s Opioid Education Fund.
The Medication Take-back Program explains drug diversion – the stealing of opioids from home medicine cabinets for illegal and illicit use – and encourages county residents to prevent this problem by safely disposing of their medications at drug drop boxes across the county. We also hold medication take-back programs at churches and community events and encourage organizations to publicize the location of drug drop boxes. The Coalition conducts this program in collaboration with the Gaston County Police Department and the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office. Click for events calendar
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The Opioid Prevention and Treatment Champions Program
helps private and nonprofit businesses learn more about opioids, develop policies and programs for employees and clients affected by opioid use disorder, and remove the stigma associated with opioids … so individuals will seek treatment and be supported to sustain recovery. The Coalition launched this program in August 2019 with support from Austin’s Opioid Education Fund and Gaston HR.
The Faith Fighting Addiction Program helps houses of worship use their spiritual resources to prevent the onset of opioid misuse and abuse, help congregants affected by opioid use disorder, and remove the stigma from opioids. This clergy–designed program is initially focusing on prayer and is conducted with support from Austin’s Opioid Education Fund.
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The Teen Action Council, a group of high school students committed to helping their peers achieve and sustain good health, is developing a program to discourage their friends and classmates from experimenting with, misusing, and abusing opioids. This program operates with the support of Gaston DHHS-Public Health and Austin’s Opioid Education Fund.
Treatment Courts are built on the understanding that our legal system cannot stop the opioid epidemic by jailing all persons who commit opioid-related crimes. Recovery courts sentence individuals to treatment, have them regularly report on their progress in court, and drop charges if they successfully complete treatment and stop using opioids. Research shows a far larger percentage of these persons heal family relationships, return to work, and become productive members of society when compared to individuals incarcerated for drug abuse. Community stakeholders and the Coalition are planning an Adult Treatment Court and a Family Treatment Court; the Coalition will help prepare grant requests to establish the courts in Gaston County.
Through Community Presentations, our Coalition explains what happens in the brain when people use and become dependent on opioids. Our presenters can also talk about law enforcement, opioid treatment, how clergy can address this epidemic, life in recovery, and how to talk about opioids with affected persons. Our goal is to prevent new cases of opioid use disorder and to help county residents see opioids without stigma so they can help affected persons enter, achieve, and sustain recovery. contact us for more info.
Through Opioid Education in Schools, we teach about the risks of opioid misuse and abuse to students, teachers, coaches, athletes, and parents.
The Opioid Overdose Response Team was designed by the Coalition and is conducted by Olive Branch Ministry. The Team’s Certified Peer Support Specialists (PSS) meet with patients brought to the CaroMont Emergency Department, most often by GEMS, after receiving Narcan to reverse opioid overdoses. During brief conversations, Peer Support Specialists explain what the patients have experienced, offer help, and set plans to meet within a few days. For up to six months, a PSS will encourage each client to use harm reduction practices and to pursue opioid treatment … enabling them to turn their life-threatening experience into a new start. This program is conducted with funding from Partners Behavioral Health Management and Austin’s Opioid Education fund.