Coalition hoping to tackle community drug problems

| April 17, 2017

COSHOCTON – The drug problem in Coshocton is the worst City Law Director Bob Skelton has seen it in almost 30 years.

“When I started 26 years ago a lot of cases were alcohol related or love gone bad,” he said at a recent Coshocton City Council meeting. “Now I’d say 70 percent of them are drug related. I’ve also never seen so many grandparents trying to get custody of grandchildren.”

Council President Cliff Biggers brought the topic up at the April 10 city council meeting and said this is an issue the community has to tackle.

“It’s not just about law enforcement,” he said. “The community has to do something too.”

One way the community can take an active role in the fight against drugs is getting involved in a new drug-free coalition. The group is being formed by Coshocton Behavioral Health Choices and the Family Children First Council who worked together to get an $80,000 Partnership for Success grant designed to help rural counties tackle this problem.

Beth Cormack from CBHC said the first step for the coalition is conducting a needs assessment for seventh through 12th graders in all three county school districts and talking with students up to the age of 21 at the local COTC campus.

“We want their thoughts on prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse,” Cormack said. “That’s the plans for the first year and then the second year is about putting plans into action to address what we’ve found.”

Community meetings were held in late March to introduce the idea of the drug-free coalition and see how others felt about the idea.

“We wanted to see what the community felt our needs were, if they agreed that the drug problem was out of control and what they thought we should do to help,” Cormack said.

Thirty-six people attended those meetings and Cormack was impressed with the different areas of the community they represented.

“A lot of different people came including pastors, deputies, teachers and even some of our clients,” she said.

The coalition hopes to have monthly meetings and Cormack said there is still plenty of time to get involved.

“Leane (from Family Children First Council) always says we are not just going to talk about problems,” Cormack said. “We are going to talk about solutions and how we can respond to issues.”

For more information on the group, contact Leane Rohr at the Family Children First Council at 740-295-7311 or Beth Cormack at Coshocton Behavioral Health Choices at 740-622-0033 ext. 103.

Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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