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Putnam Wellness Coalition working to tackle addiction through prevention

August 3, 2018

By ANYA WAKEFIELD

The Putnam Herald

HURRICANE - It is an unfortunate fact that substance abuse is among the top challenges in Putnam County, and many families and individuals are affected daily. This challenge called forth organizations like Putnam Wellness Coalition, which made it their mission to work hard to eliminate this problem and promote a healthy community.

It is recognized that prevention is the key factor in combating the substance abuse issue. That is why PWC primarily targets young people to offer incentives to prevent or delay first use. They conduct special programming in Putnam County Schools, and work closely with students, teachers, parents and professionals to provide training, technical assistance and information.

Sponsoring school-based leadership chapters, like Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), is another effective way that the organization is able to positively influence the young minds. PWC’s main focus is on prevention of marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, and prescription drug abuse.The organization is made up of a group of concerned citizens, collaborating with various community organizations, state and local government, to reach a shared goal of making Putnam County a better place to live. It emerged out of a Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) state grant and its current activity is backed by federal Drug Free Community (DFC) Grant funds.

The Coalition’s Project Director, Bill O’Dell has decades of experience in the field.

“I had always kept my hand in youth leadership and youth substance abuse prevention,” O’Dell said. “I wanted to help make Putnam County a great place to live, work, play, go to school and raise a family.”

Some of the steps that have already been taken include adoption of a Social Host Ordinance back in 2015 (which made it illegal for adults to knowingly provide a space for underage individuals to drink alcohol and/or use illicit drugs), installing prescription drug drop-boxes in several locations, distributing parent information along with drug-testing kits, consistently spreading the word about the substance abuse and mental health hot line (1-844-HELP4WV) and conducting Alcohol Compliance Checks with local businesses.

To get involved with Putnam Wellness Coalition, attend a meeting or find out more contact O’Dell at billodell@regionalfrn.org, or by calling 304-553-1186. The Coalition meets the second Friday of each month at 10:30 a.m. at the EMS Building in Winfield behind the Putnam County Schools Transportation Building. You can also visit www.putnamwellnesscoalition.org.

Prescription drug drop-boxes are located at Hurricane Police, Winfield Police and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.