Healthy Communities of Clinton County Holds Annual Event

Carol Price, left, looks at the plaque named in her honor at the Healthy Communities Annual Event. To the right of Price is Kathy Martin and Lorra Archibald of Healthy Communities.
Justin Phillips of Overdose Lifeline was the guest speaker at the annual Healthy Communities event. She spoke on the opioid crisis and what can be done to help with the issue.

About 75 people attended the Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition Annual Event Thursday night at Arborwood.

Healthy Communities Executive Director Lorra Archibald said the agency wanted to focus on mental health and the opioid drug use disorders facing the community.

“Healthy Communities has grown significantly over the past few years and Clinton County has a strong group of people trying to make things better,” said Archibald. “I think a lot of people know some of what we do, but very few know everything we do. When we can overview all the programs that we have on a night like tonight, this increases the number of people knowing what we have to offer.”

The guest speaker for the program was Justin Phillips of Overdose Lifeline, who had a personal story to tell. She lost a son to drugs recently and she had a strong message to tell..

Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition Executive Director Lorra Archibald addresses the crowd at the annual event.

“Because she (Phillips) had a personal story to tell, she can make this real for all of us,” said Archibald. “This is a problem that can happen to any family. Having someone who has experienced it is always touching and it opens people’s eyes to the possibility that it can hit their family.”

Phillips said her son was an athlete and was involved in many different activities in high school. She added she failed to pick up on the signs of the problem.

“We have never lost this much life (64,000 deaths in one year) than on anything else,” said Phillips. “We need to do something about this. It is very complex.”

Phillips said substance abuse is described as a chronic brain disease. She said a lot of opioids are legitimately prescribed by doctors thinking they are doing what’s best for the patient.

“We got to this opioid crisis in a lot of ways,” said Phillips. “They (the user) don’t want to tell you what’s going on for fear of judgement. They know that survival is the drug above anything else and they have to have that drug.”

Phillips said opioids stays in a person’s system for two years.

“We know we’re over prescribed,” said Phillips. “We need to have an opioid pain reliever that is not out currently on the market to help relieve pain and non-addictive. We need to work on that possibility now.”

Phillips was asked if you know of someone who is on drugs how should you handle that situation.

“Approach them with compassion,” said Phillips. “Meet them where they are and help them know there is a hope and a solution. Recovery is a possibility. There are 23 million people currently in recovery. Often times, people don’t believe there is any way out.”

Healthy Communities also announced the annual Carol J. Price Award would be a fixture in the future. The first recipient of that honor was Clinton County Health Department Director Rodney Wann.


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