Drug Cabinet

Happy Month of March everyone! Spring is in the air and the coalition’s calendar is full. This month, we are excited to partner with our middle and high schools, and regional health organizations to bring awareness to mental health, naloxone administration, and substance use/misuse among youth. The coalition has five informative and fun events planned this month for youth and community.

Since the covid epidemic, counties across the state have seen an increase in crisis interventions. In 2022, there were 225 face-to-face crisis assessments in Unicoi County. Crisis assessments rose nearly 200% from 2021 to 2022. The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network sends out essence alerts on suicide related behaviors every month. Since 2022 Unicoi County has seen over 25 suicide related cases among 5-65 years of age. This is why the coalition and other organizations are taking steps to inform and bring awareness of mental health to our schools and community. On March 8th the coalition and organizations such as Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, Erwin Behavioral Health, Mental Health Association, TN Voices, and Ballad Health participated in the UCHS’s mental health week. Organizations set up informational tables to inform and educate youth on substance abuse and mental health issues. The Coalition provided mental health pamphlets for teens, suicide awareness hotline cards, Tips for Teens brochures on vaping, marijuana, underage drinking, and distributed calm strips which are textured stick-on strips or circles that help calm and regulate restlessness, anxiety, and stress. Thanks to Dr. Horton and her teachers and staff. This event brings awareness to the issues that teenagers face every day.

On March 17th we have our Unicoi County Unites meeting at Erwin Town Hall. Brooke Burleson is our regional opioid response specialist, and she will train our members in Naloxone administration and provide free kits to everyone attending. Her one-hour training provides directions on how to administer naloxone and the signs of an overdose. She has provided over 1,000 naloxone kits to Unicoi County organizations since she started her position with Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition. She has trained our fire departments, police, EMS, and other organizations within the county. The coalition will offer free medication lockboxes to those at the event. There are 28 Unicoi County businesses that participate in the coalition’s medication lockbox storage program. These lockboxes are free to the public. Since January 1, we have distributed over 200 into our community.

Two events this month allow the coalition and volunteers from UCHS SADD club to tell the facts about youth substance use and misuse. The National Drug and Alcohol Facts week is March 20th-26th and Kick Butt Week is March 27th-31st. The coalition will be at the UCHS and UCMS during Fact week to educate youth about substance use and misuse. The National Guard stashed away trailer will be at the Love Chapel elementary school on March 22nd from 3-7pm, so parents can discover where youth hide their contraband items in their bedrooms. For Kick Butt week the Coalition and SADD students will help in kickball events at the middle school. We appreciate the UCMS administration and staff for working with us on this fun event. We have great support from our partners this month and I appreciate everyone. We thank all our partners and community leaders who are helping educate and bring awareness of substance use and misuse issues in our county. The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” echoes through our community today. We cannot do this alone. The Coalition invites anyone to attend our meetings at Erwin Town Hall on March 17th from 12-1:30pm.

If you need a lockbox or want to know about our programs stop by the office at 105 Rock Creek Rd. Ste.4 or call 833-803-6663 for more information. Until next month, stay health and safe.


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