EDWARDSVILLE — Two former heroin addicts will discuss their experiences with the drug at the next public meeting of the Madison County Heroin Task Force.
The task force will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the County Board Room, between the second and third floors of the Madison County Administration Building, 157 N. Main St., Edwardsville.
Task force member Dr. Kari Karidis, assistant principal at Collinsville High School, will have a presentation on parent and student engagement before introducing two young women who are in recovery. Brittanny, 23, lives in Edwardsville and has been clean since August 2012. Kelli, 23, is from Glen Carbon and has been clean for a year and a half. They will speak about their personal experiences with heroin. Earlier this year, two parents shared their struggles in dealing with their children who were heroin addicts.
State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons and Sheriff Bob Hertz announced the formation of the task force in February to study the effectiveness of past efforts to fight the problem, assess the current status of the problem in the county and develop a future plan of action to reduce addiction and save lives. This followed a string of heroin overdose deaths and the continuing epidemic of heroin addiction in Madison County.
Presentations at previous meetings have included Coroner Steve Nonn, who discussed his office’s experience dealing with the devastating results of heroin and opiate addiction; Michael Shah of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who provided information on elements of the heroin problem internationally, nationally and locally; Chestnut Health Systems’ Julie Brugger, who discussed drug trends and recovery; and WellSpring Resources’ Jessica Park and Kelly Medlin, who spoke about methadone treatment. Additionally, task force members Rebecca Mowen, a board-registered interventionist and certified alcohol and drug counselor, discussed how interventions can be an option for families dealing with heroin addiction; and Jared Opsal, public awareness specialist and coordinator of the Curiosity+Heroin campaign for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, told attendees what his organization has done in implementing a public awareness campaign in St. Louis.
Because the meeting is being held after normal business hours, only one door will be open to enter and exit. The front door, located directly across from the entrance to the Madison County Courthouse, will be open. Street parking and parking in the lots on Second Street will still be available.