Experts agree that the Opioid Crisis touches every part of our society: rich and poor, urban and rural, soccer moms and the homeless. But Dave Fetterman, a local man who spent four decades is various levels of the health care system as a licensed professional counselor, points out that rural areas are "susceptible to having substance issues go undertreated or untreated. They [rural areas] desperately need a lot of services to address this, probably which they don't have."
Fetterman, now retired, joined the St. Luke's Rural Community Opioid Response Planning Steering Committee to help "address the gaps and needs in Schuylkill and Carbon County." The 30+ individuals on the committee looked at services available in neighboring Lehigh and Northampton counties as well as counties throughout the state. One thing they learned is, although they are frequently the person people turn to, many clergy leaders feel unprepared to counsel community members facing substance abuse issues.
With that in mind the group is sponsoring "Out of the Darkness and Into the Light", training approved by the PA Dept. of Drug & Alcohol Programs. Although this training is designed with the leaders of religious communities in mind, it is open to those in the mental health and drug & alcohol fields as well as the general public. It will take place at Zion Lutheran Church, Mauch Chunk and Greenwoods Streets, Tamaqua on Tuesday, October 8 from 9 am to 4 pm (doors open at 8 am). The training will be led by Gregory Krause (continental breakfast and lunch will be provided) and will also include several additional speakers such as Dr, Janene Holter from the Pa Dept. of the Attorney General. Holter will be speaking on the PA LEAD program which is helping those in law enforcement get people into treatment instead of jail cells.
You can register for this FREE program until October 4 at www.ziontamaqua.com/out-of-the-darkness/ Those with questions can contact Melissa Kalyan at 570-621-2890 ext. 104 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Another tool in addressing the drug problem is naloxone, the medication which can reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone will be distributed on Sept. 18 and 25 at the Schuylkill County State Health Center, 1 Norwegian Plaza, Suite 103, Pottsville. Naloxone will be distributed free of charge between 11 am and 7 pm, as supplies last.