Staff attends substance abuse forum
Staff members of White Mountain Community Health Center attended an addiction forum, “Pathways from Silence to Solutions: Carroll County Responds to Substance Use Disorders,” on Tuesday, May 16 in the Peaslee Building at the Sandwich Fairgrounds.
The Carroll County Coalition for Public Health, Sandwich Police Department and White Mountain Restorative Justice co-sponsored the forum, which featured a series of panel discussions, including safety and law enforcement, health care, education, and government.
Each 45-minute block offered presenters the opportunity to share their insights and knowledge with those in attendance, and included an open forum for discussion. Julie Everett Hill, RN, Director of Operations, and Trisha Jacobson, Teen Clinic Coordinator, were among the presenters at this event.
Julie discussed the health center’s use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), a best practice universal screening protocol for substance misuse, while Trisha spoke about her work with the teen clinic and addressed childhood trauma. As reported by Daymond Steer of The Conway Daily Sun, Trisha explained how she uses a simple formula as part of her drug prevention effort: Event + Response = Outcome.
"The only thing any of us have control over is the response or the reaction to the event,” Trisha said. “You may not be able to do anything about your parent that's home shooting heroin, but you certainly do something about your choice about them."
Following the presentations, attendees were invited to break out into groups to further discuss and evaluate the topics covered.
Jenn Mashiak, Health Insurance Navigator and MedBridge Coordinator, found the forum educational and informative, as well as a great opportunity for networking. She expressed that “it was interesting to see the combination of individuals there that help with drug recovery, as well as officials providing insight as to how drugs to get our area and resources that are available.”
Cymande Baxter-Rogers, APRN, echoed Jenn’s sentiments stating, “I am completely impressed by the community support I see for people and families affected by substance use disorder. There is hope for the opioid epidemic and eyes toward whatever comes next. I came home with a stack of business cards and pamphlets two inches thick. I wanted to run through the streets screaming, ‘look at all of these people trying to help!’”
According to forum organizers, teens in Carroll County are trying drugs and alcohol earlier than those in other parts of the state, as early as at 12 years old. Additionally, it was shared that over half of the overdoses in New Hampshire in 2016 happened to people age 25 to 50. Because those suffering from addiction are so often of parenting age, the substance misuse crisis has an outsized effect on children and has led to an increase in children being raised by people other than their parents.
White Mountain Community Health Center provides comprehensive, high-quality primary care services and health education to women, men and children in the Mount Washington Valley community regardless of ability to pay. The health center offers support services for those suffering from addiction. Call (603) 447-8900 or visit whitemountainhealth.org to learn more.