Prevention coalition meeting talks recovery

POINT PLEASANT — Prestera has had success with their Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEADS) in Cabell and Kanawha Counties.

The program, discussed at this week’s meeting of the Mason County Prevention Coalition, offers treatment to individuals convicted of substance abuse instead of spending six months to a year in jail. These persons are offered the choice of treatment over jail. Prestera has had 150 participants, only five of which have been arrested after treatment in the last two years.

“The problem is these people aren’t getting treatment inside the jail,” said Tim White, regional prevention coordinator for Prestera.

A typical night in jail to house a person is $48, Prestera can treat for $25 a day. This program costs nothing to the government, which would have to pay $48 a day to jail a person who is likely to re-offend, according to White.

“All you’re doing when you send someone to jail is pushing the problem forward six months to a year, it doesn’t solve the problem,” said White.

After jail, a lot of people will simply go back to drug abuse without treatment. White also explained that jail time is still an option for individuals that enter the program and fail to complete it.

Prestera has also distributed 844 of their business cards to emergency personnel that deal with drug overdoses. These cards have contact information to Prestera for persons struggling with addiction to learn about treatment options. EMS personnel and hospital staff give out these cards in order to help promote getting help.

Pleasant Valley Hospital will be holding a class on training person on the proper use of Narcan and how to identify someone who is overdosing on drugs. It is open to anyone who wants to sign up. The training will take place on Thursday, Aug. 24 at the PVH. They will have three different sessions starting at 7:30 a.m., and again at 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.

“It will teach you to recognize signs and symptoms of an overdose, how to administer Narcan, and how to provide continued support” explained Robin Jones, coordinator for the Loved Ones Support Group. To sign up for the training, call 304-675-4340.

The Loved Ones Support Group will be starting another series of meetings for family members and loved ones dealing with a substance abuse problem. This will start on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. at Main Street Baptist Church, and will run for seven weeks. These sessions will include videos done by Ed Hughes on how to help a family member dealing with drug addiction.

By Morgan McKinniss

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.