Guest column/Bringing Help. Bringing Hope.

As we continue to face an opioid issue of epidemic proportion in our community and in communities throughout Ohio, I want to take a moment to highlight the good work that is being done by individuals on the front line of this fight.

With the message of “Bringing Help. Bringing Hope. Thank You,” from Monday through Friday, across Ohio, communities are holding a series of appreciation activities for frontline workers who are fighting the opiate epidemic and helping individuals recover.

Additionally, counties are launching local county hubs to combat opiate addiction, as called for in the last biennial budget.

These hubs will help to expand and strengthen the local effort in eradicating Ohio’s opioid epidemic. Through our continued community efforts and building on the strengths of our existing partnerships, we will utilize our county hub to nurture and reinforce county and community efforts to prevent and treat addiction, including opioids; educate youth and adults about opioids and other addictions and recovery; promote family building and work force development as ways of combating the effects of addiction on communities; and encourage community engagement in efforts to address this present opioid epidemic.

The first coordinated effort of the county hubs throughout Ohio is to show our appreciation for all individuals, families and professionals on the frontlines of this fight in our community and throughout the state. With the message of “Bringing Help. Bringing Hope. Thank You,” we’re expressing our thanks and gratitude to the countless number of individuals who spend their days working tirelessly, in an often thankless role, to help save lives.

In addition, these individuals help those who they serve engage in treatment and achieve recovery, support children and families impacted by this disease, promote prevention activities and build strong, resilient communities.

The Jefferson County Opioid Hub meets every quarter, and has been been working to identify local needs and a plan to be submitted to state authorities to provide adequate funding to meet the needs of Jefferson County.

Every sector of society is impacted by addiction and this epidemic, and it’s going to take every part of every community to develop a solution to this problem.

We need to be sure that we are collectively focusing our community responses from the individual to the public policy level on meeting the needs of individuals and families impacted by addiction in our state.

As we launch our county hub to combat opioid addiction, we’ll be working collaboratively with county hubs throughout the state to identify and share successes. Collectively, we’ll build a comprehensive focus on prevention, education, intervention, interdiction, treatment and recovery. Through this work, we’ll continue to bring hope to our community and build the understanding that treatment works and people recover.

(Petrilla is executive director of the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board.)