Coalition targets substance abuse
Substance abuse is a tragic reality in many communities. Addiction, prescription drug abuse, and overdose numbers have skyrocketed in recent years making knowledge and strategies to prevent, educate, and treat substance abuse in communities more vital than ever.
Join Together Northern Nevada (JTNN) is a nonprofit, substance abuse coalition created in 1998 to focus on collaborative efforts to address substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment in Washoe County. JTNN acts as a clearinghouse for information, community assessment, planning, and grant funding, with a mission to “build partnerships to create healthy, drug free communities.”
JTNN convenes committees of local stakeholders on various topics and collects data to create a bi-yearly substance abuse prevention plan to guide local activities. JTNN provides accredited education programs to parents, school district personnel, healthcare workers, members of law enforcement, and community members. JTNN’s youth volunteers develop and deliver drug prevention presentations to their peers in elementary, middle and high schools. More than 1,100 students were reached by JTNN’s youth group in the 2014-2015 school year. JTNN co-hosts a semi-annual Prescription Drug Round Up at which community members are encouraged to dispose of unwanted or expired medications in a safe, healthy manner. In the past year, more than 392,000 prescription drugs were disposed of in a safe manner through this service and potentially kept addictive drugs out of the hands of those who may have abused them.
JTNN’s Super Parents Supervise program teaches parents about new drug paraphernalia, commonly abused drugs, and how to identify both. The program includes the setup of a mock bedroom through which parents look at common items (hair brush, soda can, water bottle, etc.) that are really containers used to stash drugs. Parents learn how to speak to their children about drugs and are provided with a take-home manual for future use.
JTNN partners with the UNR School of Medicine to provide accredited trainings to physicians and other healthcare staff members about addiction-related topics, and trains physicians and staff members on how to use the State of Nevada Board of Pharmacy Prescription Monitoring Program — a database that allows physicians to determine if patients are seeking narcotic drugs from more than one doctor.
JTNN helped establish and continues to fund the Substance Abuse Help Line through which help can be accessed 24 hours-a-day via a local or toll-free number. Trained specialists provide referrals to local and statewide resources.
If you’d like to participate in a specific work group or want more information on a drug-related topic, please contact 775-324-7557 or visit jtnn.org.
Christal Park Keegan’s professional experience includes working as an attorney for the National Judicial College in Reno and for the Chapman Law Firm in Northern Nevada.