CINCINNATI -- The Hamilton County Heroin Coalition will take another step toward fighting the epidemic Friday as it introduces its Community Advisory Board (CAB) to increase dialogue about opiate addiction in Greater Cincinnati.
“There’s no more important voice at the table than those who have lived with the disease of addiction,” said Commissioner Dennis Deters, who serves as chair of the Heroin Coalition. “By creating an advisory board to the Heroin Coalition, we can include those community leaders and family members that are dealing with this issue day to day and improve our work to combat this epidemic.”
The CAB will serve as a support group, a roundtable forum and an advisory entity to the Heroin Coalition. Meetings will be organized by the county, where attendees will learn more about the Heroin Coalition’s work and how they can access assistance for addiction.
“As the parent of a heroin addict, each day is a challenge to ensure she has the support she needs,” said Katrina Sauerwein, a member of the CAB. “It’s important that family and loved ones can tap into the resources and assistance we need to help the people we love.”
The Heroin Coalition is made up of public health officials, law enforcement, treatment providers and prevention experts, collaborating to impact the heroin and opiate epidemic. The Coalition says it has led the region in increasing treatment and recovery services, reducing the supply of drugs on the streets, coordinating and improving prevention efforts and saving the lives of those struggling with addiction.
“It’s important that individuals in recovery have a seat at the table to share our experiences,” said Samantha Frashier, a member of the CAB who kicked addiction three years ago and now works with The Nest, a faith-based recovery home. “The efforts of initiatives like the Heroin Coalition will benefit from learning about the ups and downs of addiction and what it takes to live a sober life.”
Dwight Young, executive cirector of BLOC Ministries in Price Hill, which hosted Friday's announcement said people struggling with addiction -- and those who love them -- have felt alone in this fight for too long.
“The faith community, grassroots movements and nonprofits provide valuable perspectives on the day-to-day challenges to eradicate drug abuse in our communities,” Young said.
Members of the public interested in serving on the CAB should visit the Coalition’s regional website here to request additional information. The Heroin Coalition will schedule the first meeting and announce the location based upon feedback and interest from the community.