EDWARDSVILLE — The next public meeting of the Madison County Heroin Task Force will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, in the County Board Room at the Madison County Administration Building, 157 N. Main St.
Dr. Kelly N. Gable, Dr. Jessica Kerr and Tina Messenger of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s School of Pharmacy are scheduled to speak about opioid abuse, treatment, Naloxone and the school’s community outreach program, Generation Rx.
Most recently, the task force heard from Randy Malan, FASCP clinical director with the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program. Task force members have also heard from a variety of speakers, including Warden Jeff Parker of the Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center, who discussed the impact heroin has had at his facility, a dedicated substance abuse correctional facility for male offenders; members of the Madison County Drug Court team; 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 Agency; and Jared Opsal, public awareness specialist and coordinator of the Curiosity+Heroin campaign for the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse.
Speakers from the treatment and recovery sector have included Centerstone’s (formerly WellSpring Resources) Jessica Park and Kelly Medlin, who talked about methadone treatment; Chestnut Health Systems’ Julie Brugger, who discussed drug trends and recovery; and task force member Rebecca Mowen, a board-registered interventionist and certified alcohol and drug counselor, who helps families dealing with heroin addiction.
Task force member Dr. Kari Karidis, assistant principal with Collinsville High School, discussed her personal experience and loss of a loved one from heroin, along with two young women who are in recovery. The task force also has heard from parents who shared their struggles in dealing with their children who were heroin addicts.
The task force continues to look at the effectiveness of past efforts to fight heroin addiction while assessing the problem’s current status in Madison County.