This coming Monday, voices will be raised at a forum in Washington Court House hosted by Your Voice Ohio to address opioids. Registration is still open for the event.
Concerned members in the Fayette County community have voiced their feelings and experiences on opioids with the Record-Herald. The Record-Herald, along with other AIM Media Midwest news network publications, partnered with Your Voice Ohio to host the open forum event in Washington Court House.
“This event is part of a statewide series of conversations on Ohio’s opioid epidemic across the state,” said Your Voice Ohio Program Director Andrew Rockway.
A similar event will be held Sunday in Wilmington. That event is sold out. Earlier this month, there were meetings held in Cincinnati, Dayton and Middletown. Information from the meetings will be published in the future in the Record-Herald and partner publications across the state.
Your Voice Ohio is a collaborative journalism effort across Ohio, driven by the priorities and perspectives of all Ohioans. They host local events, gather community solutions, find the latest research, and share personal stories of people confronting Ohio’s tough issues.
“This discussion is set up so community members can share their insight and perspectives about the drug crisis locally and what might be done to combat it. Critically, these discussions also allow journalists to listen deeply to community members, rather than just elected officials and ‘experts,’ so that reporting reflects the information needs and ideas of the broader public,” said Rockway.
It’s been said that Dayton, Ohio is the number one place in the country for opioid overdose deaths.
The claim originated from a statement made by Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer in 2017. According to reporters at the Dayton Daily News, Plummer said, “Per capita, we’re number one in the nation in overdose deaths.”
At the time, there was no readily available data to support Plummer’s claim, but the rumor was soon reported as a factual statement. The claim was unfounded, but Plummer was later recorded saying that the statement would probably help the county to get some of the resources and funding that it so desperately needs. But, each and every county in the state is impacted in some way by the drugs.
In the meantime, officials, reporters, advocates, politicians, researchers and citizens across the state of Ohio worked on compiling data and information in order to bring a more comprehensive understanding to the issue.
What does the most current data look like? What about Middletown, Wilmington, Washington Court House, and Portsmouth?
As the number of accidental drug overdoses in Ohio rose, the rate at which Ohioans are dying from accidental overdose deaths surpassed that of car accidents. Why?
AIM Media Midwest news network editor Gary Brock wrote in 2017 that Ohio State University researchers found employment to be an important factor in the worsening of opioid misuse. Brock’s article in the Wilmington News Journal Nov. 2 said that low wages, a lack of jobs, and a feeling of despair have increased opioid misuse.
In a five-year period between 2011-2015, there were nearly 4 billion opioid narcotics distributed to Ohioans. In the end, in 2015 alone, the cost of the opioid crisis was $504 billion nationally, according to the White House.
Solutions may be costly; Butler County has a $3.6 million Opiate Business Plan, according to reporting from the Journal-News. Communities across the state and country are reporting programs such as residential treatment, long-term care, medically-assisted treatment, prevention, and cognitive behavioral therapy have been helpful in mitigating the effects of opioid addiction.
To help communities connect and better understand what is working to help solve the issue, reporters across Ohio have formed the Your Voice Ohio media project to share information and news from different areas in the state facing similar crises.
Washington Court House and Fayette County residents are invited to attend the Your Voice Ohio “The Opioid Epidemic in Washington Court House” community meeting Monday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The meeting will be held in the LaFayette Room, 133 S. Fayette St., Washington Court House.
Registration is still open, with 92 people registered online by Friday. Elected officials, health care employees and first responders are encouraged to attend the event.
The event will be moderated in a “cafe style” conversation by Doug Oplinger, program manager of the Your Voice Ohio project and former managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Those in attendance will be asked to have small group, respectful conversations about the opioid crisis in their community.
Project partners include the Wilmington News Journal, The (Washington C.H.) Record-Herald, Dayton Daily News, Journal-News, the Miami Student, the University of Cincinnati News Record, Springfield News-Sun, WKRC, WVXU and WYSO.
Can’t attend but want to share your thoughts on the issue?
What questions do you need answered to help your understanding? What solutions do you suggest? Email Ashley at the Record-Herald or the Your Voice Ohio project at firstname.lastname@example.org
To reach Ashley or to submit your story call (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton.