The Drug Alcohol Reduction Team (DART) of Lincoln County hosted a political roundtable on the “State of Substance Abuse in Lincoln County” at Bonfils Auditorium for the public, as well as local, state and federal elected officials.
More than 100 guests listened intently as a panel of experts from Lincoln County depicted drug use in Lincoln County including, marijuana, alcohol, synthetic drugs, methemphetamine and heroin in graphic detail. These drugs have led to addiction, criminal activity and many times death.
In attendance for the presentation was Tanner Smith from Congressman’s Blaine Luektemeyer’s office, Trisha LaValle from Congressman’s Roy Blunt’s office, Debbie Cochran from Congressman’s Todd Akin’s office, Representative Ed Schieffer, Bev Steiniger from Senator Scott Rupp’s office, Mayor Mark Cross, City of Troy Police Chief Jeff Taylor, Lincoln County Sheriff Elect -John Cottle , Judge Ben Burkemper, Pat Bira CEO of Lincoln County Medical Center and superintendents from Troy, Winfield, Elsberry, and Silex were also in attendance.
A panel of experts presented to the audience showing video, pictures, and statistics of the consequences of substance abuse. Presenting a real life story on the consequences of drug use was Tammy Boone and Jessica Geiger, mother and sister of Doug Geiger, who died earlier this year of a heroin overdose in Lincoln County. Other panelists included Ray Floyd of the Troy Police Department, Milli Palmer and Beth Sailors of Preferred Family Healthcare and the Lincoln County Wellness Center (a treatment provider located in Lincoln County), Becky Hoskins the Executive Director of the Lincoln County Resource Board, which funds many mental health and substance abuse services in Lincoln County and Mark Dach from the Lincoln County Medical Center.
Jim Wallis, Sr. Vice President of Preferred Family Healthcare, Superintendent Mark Penny and April Bryant of the Lincoln County R-III School District facilitated the presentation and discussion, which included almost an hour of dialogue and questions from the audience.
The next steps for the DART team is to complete a comprehensive needs assessment and survey with all 6th, 9th and 12th grade students in Lincoln County. This information will provide a baseline of the awareness and usage of substance abuse with the youth in Lincoln County. Funding for the assessment comes from generous donations from the Lincoln County Health Foundation, the Troy Kiwanis and a State of Missouri ACT-Mo grant.
The DART team will continue to hold awareness activities in the schools and communities in Lincoln County. A second political roundtable forum is planned for late May or early June of 2013.
DART is a countywide grass roots initiative that formalized in September of 2011. The mission of DART is to educate all Lincoln County residents about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The vision of DART is to make Lincoln County – Drug Free.
You can learn more about DART on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LincolnCountyDART