Count It! Lock It! Drop It! Joins Rescue 180 in Symposium

Panelists (Left to Right): Rev. Debra Shultz, Executive Director, Rescue 180;  Andrew Farmer, 17th District State Representative; Kevin Poe, Criminal Investigator for Public Defender's Office; Barry Fain, Rescue 180’s Chairman and Youth Services Officer for Juvenile Court; Duane Slone, 4th Judicial Circuit Court and Recovery Court Judge.Photo Submitted by Rev. Debra Shultz

Panelists (Left to Right): Rev. Debra Shultz, Executive Director, Rescue 180; Andrew Farmer, 17th District State Representative; Kevin Poe, Criminal Investigator for Public Defender’s Office; Barry Fain, Rescue 180’s Chairman and Youth Services Officer for Juvenile Court; Duane Slone, 4th Judicial Circuit Court and Recovery Court Judge.
Photo Submitted by Rev. Debra Shultz

The Statewide initiative, Count It! Lock It! Drop It! (CLD), funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield, joined Jefferson County Substance Abuse Coalition, Rescue 180, in a symposium to address solutions to our opioid crisis. CLD is an evidence-based strategy that has proven results as an effective primary prevention tool.

Kristina Clark, Project Coordinator of CLD, explains, “Count It! Lock It! Drop It! is an important tool in the prevention of the opioid abuse epidemic. Just following the simple steps of counting, locking up, and properly disposing of medication can stop a life long battle with addiction from ever starting. We are so grateful to have partnered with Rescue 180 on hosting an East TN regional meeting on this very important topic. It takes every home in every community to stop this epidemic and save lives.”

Judge Duane Slone was the special speaker who spoke on the addictive brain, and gave statistics and explanations concerning addiction. “As a former prosecutor of drug addicts, I have been enlightened about the disease of addiction, “ explains Slone.

“Judge Slone is the Judge over our Recovery Court for our 4th Judicial District, and he has revolutionized reaching those with addiction, on many levels,” shares Rescue 180’s Executive Director Rev. Debra Shultz. “From encouraging drug court participants to believe in themselves, and their healing process, to taking the step into the world of Prevention by piloting such programs as the VLARC program, it was truly an honor to have him share with us,” says Shultz.

Slone has recently branched out to other States to connect and Chair’s a Seven State Opioid Judicial initiative that will lead others in the Judicial System into solutions focused on the opioid crisis for their states.

“CLD is one of the most practical and effective strategies in the nation to reduce the supply of opioid medication on our streets, “ Slone adds.

“While CLD may not be a silver bullet to end the opioid crisis in our state, providing a means for residents to properly dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications to remove the temptation for struggling family members and would-be thieves goes a long way in helping with the ongoing epidemic in Tennessee, as well as many of it’s symptoms”, adds Rescue 180’s Chairman and Youth Services Officer for Juvenile Court, Barry Fain.

Other panelists that were involved in the event were Rep. Andrew Farmer, Chief Chad Cotter of White Pine Police Department, and Kevin Poe Criminal Investigator for the Public Defender’s Office.

Representative Jeremy Faision was also on hand to greet the people , and was asked to offer a blessing in prayer, by Rev. Shultz.

Several of the panelist were given questions and offered sound solutions.

“Do you think Jefferson County is providing enough resources for those who are getting out of jail, who have addiction issues, to help rebuild their lives?”

Kevin Poe passionately answered this question, sharing a recent experience that he and Chief Cotter had collaborated in, while he was working on a case for the Public Defender’s office. Poe talked about a man who had asked for help concerning his substance abuse problem. He described how amazing it was to see that this gentleman had pulled his life together after he stepped up to ask for their help. Poe also stated that he felt humbled to be working with all who were on the panel, and to be a part of the 4th Judicial Court System that is working to provide assistance to those struggling with addiction.

Chief Chad Cotter also shared his thoughts,“With law enforcement working together with other public health professionals and legislators, and hearing all sides of the issue, law enforcement can hopefully find alternatives other than putting someone in jail, and lead them into to a rehab.”

The symposium lasted for 4 hours and also included emotional and heartfelt testimonies from two recovery court graduates.

Mallie Moore, who has been on the Opioid Crisis Circuit with Judge Slone, Dr. Stephan Loyd, Mayor Haslam, and even a recent National forum featuring Political Great, Kelly Ann Conway, shared her experience with addiction.

Raven Mason, who is also a Recovery Court graduate, shared her testimony as well. Mason is now a Certified Recovery Specialist with Watauga Recovery Center.

Kimberly Strange Pace from the “Addicts Family” also shared her own, as well as her family member’s, journey through addiction.

Shultz says that Rescue 180 is available to come to your organization, business or Church to share about CLD, and provide boxes and materials to implement the program.

“Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us,” shares Shultz. “Rescue180.com is our website. You can also find us on Facebook, and our email is rescue180@yahoo.com . We have our meetings at the Dandridge Police Department the last Thursday of every month, unless otherwise posted that they are rescheduled.

“Rescue 180 is a Coalition. It is a 501c3 and it is not a ‘one man show’ organization. We are here to be a voice for our Community. For the last 7 years we have been funded by the Department of Mental Health, Division of Substance Abuse Services. Our doors are open to anyone and everyone who would like to collaborate and join us in our community’s fight against substance abuse.”

Shultz says she is appreciative to all that joined the symposium, and that there were local colleagues as well as those who traveled across the State to attend.

Source: Submitted by Rev. Debra Shultz

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