Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan is forming an Opioid Task Force to help the city develop a coordinated response to the ongoing crisis.
The plan for the group is to find long-term solutions to reduce opioid abuse, dependence and overdoses.
"I felt it would be important to form a citizens task force who were interested in looking at ways that we could address this opioid crisis," said Mayor Kim McMillan, City of Clarksville.
Cheryl Coon knows the struggle of addiction. She got addicted to pain medication after being prescribed medication after having wisdom teeth extracted.
"When you get hooked on opioids and you try to get off you get really sick, physically ill. In order to feel normal I would have to have opioids," said Coon.
Coon was addicted to drugs for 20 years, but she's been sober for 3-and-a-half years and now works at Buffalo Valley. The same facility who helped her to recovery.
It's success stories like these, the Mayors office hopes to continue with her opioid task force.
The task force is made up of veteran outreach leaders, health professionals and city leaders.
It's expected to grow to about nine members over the next few weeks. The following people have already committed to serve:
- Dr. Vernon “Mike” Carrigan, chief administrator of Premier Medical Group
- Jeremy Bowles, a pharmacist
- Dr. James “Danny” Davis, a chiropractic health practitioner
- Sherry Pickering, executive director of the Montgomery County Veterans Coalition
- Leslie Chiodini, executive director of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Community Action Agency
In 2016 there were 29 drug overdose deaths in the county -- 15 from opioids. In 2015, there were 36 overdose deaths -- with 24 from opioids.
No heroin overdose deaths occurred in Montgomery County in 2016, while two were recorded in 2015. (2017 data was not yet available.)
The task force will meet once a month for the first six months. It will have its first meeting on September 12.