On Nov. 29, the Cambria County Drug Coalition held a report-out to share statistics and other information related to the organization’s ongoing work to reduce the impact of drug use in our community. Ronna Yablonski (pictured above), executive director for the CCDC, led the meeting, along with representatives from law enforcement, healthcare, county government, and others. 1889 Foundation is proud to be one of many organizations collaborating with the coalition.
Significant progress has been made, including:
- A drop in the rate of fatal overdoses. To date in 2018, 49 deaths have occurred, down significantly from 87 in 2017.
- Efforts to control the accessibility of prescription opioids. The installation of 21 prescription drop-off boxes, along with many drug take-back events, has resulted in the collection of more than 2,100 pounds of medication, thus preventing these leftover drugs from falling into the wrong hands. At the same time, hundreds of community physicians are querying the state-sponsored Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is designed to help identify people who “doctor shop” in order to obtain opioid prescriptions because of addiction.
- Work toward decreasing the supply of illegal drugs. The “Push out the Pusher” program has provided tips and information that has been vital to law enforcement’s efforts to disrupt drug dealing in our community. Large amounts of drugs have been seized, along with illegal firearms and drug money.
- The implementation of the “warm hand-off” protocol. From mid-July to mid-October, 25 overdose patients brought to the Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center were transferred straight from medical treatment to a substance abuse program.
- Maternal-fetal treatment program under development. A county grant for $280,000 is being used to create a comprehensive treatment program for pregnant women who are struggling with substance abuse, in partnership with Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.
- Prevention education in area schools. Efforts to sustain and expand the implementation of the evidence-based prevention program Botvin LifeSkills Training are continuing.
- Community education. Efforts such as the “Hearts Against Heroin” PSA campaign are helping to educate the public about the problem.
For more about the Cambria County Drug Coalition, visit the CCDC website.