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Survey: More education, cooperation and treatment options needed to combat drugs

Addiction prevention, education programs, stronger law enforcement and treatment centers are just a few items the Boyle County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy will focus on in the next year after receiving responses from a survey about what the needs are in Boyle County relating to substance abuse.  

“The need for more prevention and education programs was expressed even more strongly in this 2016 survey,” ASAP Director Kathy Miles wrote in the survey summary.

In a survey that was distributed during ASAP meetings, to those on the ASAP email list, Hope Network members and to the members and organizations with Kentucky United Way, it was expressed that there is a “lack of effective prevention and education programs,” according to the summary.  

In response, ASAP wants to focus on creating educational programs that would be available for youth, parents, child educators, families and the general public.  

Among the responses, people suggested ASAP should work with local schools to provide comprehensive in-school drug education for every student starting in middle school and running through 12th grade.   

Along with the programs in the school, it was also suggested that there should be mentoring programs for kindergarten through 12th grade.  

Within the education programs, people suggested that there should be mental health information included, along with wrap-around services for students and families. The educational programs should identify families that are at a higher risk for addiction and give them appropriate services in response, according to the survey responses.

Along with education, law enforcement needs were expressed among the responses.  

Many respondents said there is a need for a coordinated law enforcement effort to limit the supply of illegal drugs in the county. Respondents said there should be a better way to identify the major drug dealers and who in the community is at a greater risk for becoming addicted, according to the summary.  

Instead of having the police departments and sheriff’s department working separately to combat the problem, a respondent suggested there should be a city-county law enforcement task force to track down the dealers.  

ASAP is aware of the lack of treatment centers in Boyle County for substance abuse, Miles said. The need for treatment centers was a strong trend in the survey, along with the deficits in treatment opportunities for a variety of community members.

A challenging aspect of going to treatment is the cost, several responses in the survey noted the need to “improve access to affordable and timely treatment and to recovery support programs.”   

Along with the need for treatment programs, people suggested detox programs, recovery support, resources for addicted inmates leaving jail, housing for those leaving treatment programs, homeless shelters and a unified and engaged faith community to support treatment and recovery, according to the summary.   

In September 2015, Boyle County ASAP distributed a survey to assess local substance use and addition in Danville-Boyle County.  

The results from the survey in 2015 were used in ASAP program planning for later that year and for 2016.  

With the increase in drug use, overdoses, deaths and the rise in the jail population due to drugs, the survey was distributed again earlier this fall to help ASAP plan for 2017.

A total of 250 surveys distributed, though only 15 were returned.

“Although rate of return is not desirable, the responses of those surveys returned reflect thoughtful consideration of needs and a diverse and deep understanding of our community’s issues,” Miles said in the summary.