Special Agent Ryan Jones of Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois addresses participants at the Oct. 11 Social Services Safety Net Lunch and Learn on Substance Abuse Resources.
EDWARDSVILLE — Representatives from more than 30 organizations attended the fourth Lunch and Learn Workshop presented by Edwardsville Township and the Glen Ed Ministerial Alliance on Oct. 11 at Bella Milano.
The event was a follow up from the township’s Social Services Safety Net Forum last summer and focused on providing information on substance abuse resources within the community.
In June 2015, Edwardsville Township, in partnership with the Glen Ed Ministerial Alliance, held a Social Services Safety Net Forum to bring together area social service agencies, organizations and churches that provide services to residents of Edwardsville Community School District 7. The township offers two assistance programs to residents, General Assistance and Emergency Assistance. These program assist low-income residents with shelter, utilities, food and personal items.
The 2016 Social Services Safety Net Forum is set for Wednesday, Nov. 9, at First Christian Church, 310 S. Main St. in Edwardsville.
“This year’s forum will focus on a shared database, a community resource guide and networking,” Township Supervisor Frank Miles said. “We hope to bring together social service agencies to learn from one another regarding the services each agency provides and establish a collaborative effort to better coordinate resources and best serve our residents in need.”
At the Oct. 11 event, guests heard presentations from Special Agent Ryan Jones of the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois, Stephanie Flaugher of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, Brent Cummings and Donna Nahlik of Chestnut Health Systems, and Nancy Davis of the Gateway Foundation Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers.
“The heroin epidemic continues to threaten our community, but new trends include heroin addicts cutting their heroin with fentanyl, which creates a lethal combination,” Jones said.
Flaugher credited the success of their prevention programs to the strong partnership with the Madison County state’s attorney, sheriff and coroner.
“We strive to help youth ages 11 to 20 make responsible, informed decisions and keep kids off the addiction pathway,” Flaugher said. “We encourage parents to monitor their alcohol at their homes and dispose of their prescription drugs regularly.”
Cummings and Davis shared information regarding the area’s residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs.
“We estimate that substance abuse costs the business community about $80 billion per year,” Davis said. “This is something we all need to be aware of.”
The first Lunch and Learn in August 2015 provided information to serve the homeless. In October 2015, the second event offered resources for domestic violence victims. This May, the third Lunch and Learn focused on transportation resources and featured speakers from Madison County Transit, Faith in Action and Main Street Community Center.
“These Lunch and Learn Workshops have become an excellent resource for area agencies to learn about resources available in our community,” Miles said.
Edwardsville Township comprises the city of Edwardsville, village of Glen Carbon and unincorporated areas just outside of these two municipalities. The Township Supervisor’s office, 300 W. Park in Edwardsville, is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
For information, visit edwardsvilletownship.com or call (618) 656-0292.