Horrigan and Brinkman Announce Upcoming Community Drug Forum

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Chautauqua County Executive Vincent Horrigan and Chautauqua County Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Patricia Brinkman have announced a Community Forum focused on the continuing prevention efforts to combat the epidemic of opiate use and abuse in Chautauqua County will be held on March 16, 2015 at 9 a.m. at Chautauqua Suites Hotel and Expo Center, 215 W. Lake Rd. in Mayville.

Key stakeholders who are also involved in preparing for the event include leaders from the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council (CASAC), WCA Hospital, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, the Mental Health Association, Dunkirk Police Department, Jamestown Police Department, Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, and the Health Care Action Team.

“Effective solutions to our substance abuse problems in Chautauqua County require all of us to come together with a community based approach to evaluate where we are and how we can become more effective in reversing the growing problem of drug abuse in Chautauqua County,” said Horrigan. “This problem affects us all in one way or another. We must stay on task to get results.”

The Community Drug Forum will feature experts who will discuss current treatment practices, impacts of drug abuse, and community involvement in organizing efforts to combat addiction. Anticipated speakers include Michael Fox, Allison Sharer and Dr. Robert Meyers.

Michael Fox, Research Associate from the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, will share perspectives and approaches specific to adolescent co-occurring disorders and moving toward risk reduction approaches. Allison Sharer, Director of Prevention Programs with Drug Free Action Alliance, will be speaking on community coalition building focused on prevention. Dr. Robert Meyers is an emeritus research associate professor of psychology who worked in the clinical research branch at the University of New Mexico’s Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addiction for over 22 years. He will be presenting a treatment model that motivates and encourages substance abusers to seek help called the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), which is featured on the HBO documentary, Addiction.

“The Forum will include presentations to guide the community’s role in continuing prevention and treatment efforts including new training models, prevention and community engagement,” said Brinkman. “This is a multifaceted problem facing each of us either within our families, or through our profession and will require innovative strategies that involve law enforcement, treatment programs, crisis services, prevention efforts and funding sources.”
The Community Drug Forum will focus on updating the community about accomplishments achieved since the previous forum in March of 2014. Committees were formed in the spring of 2014 to focus on steering the overall effort, prevention, policy and legislation, law enforcement and treatment. Each committee will be represented and will be reporting their progress since the last forum.

For more information concerning the Community Drug Forum, contact the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene at (716) 753-4104 or the County Executive’s Office at (716) 753-4211.