Rescue 180 debuts first annual Spring Fling to fight the opioid epidemic

Rescue 180 is planning their first annual Spring Fling to help support local families dealing with addiction.

The fundraiser’s purpose is to help those in the community who are dealing with addiction, and need assistance. The event will be held this Saturday March 23rd, at the Brazelton Lodge in Dandridge from 3 – 6 pm.

The spaghetti dinner is free to children up to age 12, and $10.00 for adults.

Executive Director, Rev. Debra Shultz shared, “We have folks who come to us on a regular basis, asking us to assist them financially. Since we are a Prevention organization, we do not have funds in our budget with the state to supply these needs, so we are stepping out of the box to see if we can get the community to help support this need.”

Shultz says the opioid epidemic is no secret to our society, and the organization has been working passionately for a decade to fight substance abuse in our county on every level.

According to reports, East Tennessee is at or near the top of the list of areas that is smothering from this epidemic, and prevention coalitions such as Rescue 180 have been earmarked as necessary entities in providing aid in the lowering of the statistics.

Also in these reports it is documented that in 2016 there were 1,186 opioid -related overdose deaths in Tennessee, a rate of 18.1 per 100,000 persons.

In 2015, tennessee providers wrote 118.3 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (7.8 million prescriptions).

Rescue 180 is a Prevention coalition and is actively fighting these statistics by implementing evidence-based strategies, such as holding Drug Take Backs with local law enforcement and the DEA, as well as encouraging the community to use the drug boxes located at designated areas, that are Sheriff’s Department, Dandridge Police Department, White Pine Police Department, Jefferson City Police Department and coming soon to New Market.

The coalition is also actively involved in the Count it! Lock It: Drop It! Program, and just recently donated 100 lock boxes to the Jefferson County Health Department to distribute to folks in the community.

There will also be free boxes available to the community, at the Spring Fling fundraiser this Saturday.

Assistant Director, Keith Shultz stated, “It is important for our communities to understand that the medicine cabinet has become the opioid epidemic’s newest “drug dealer.” So, it is imperative that we provide these boxes. In doing so we will reduce accessibility/availability and provide a safe storage for those who are not abusing the medications, such as the chronically ill and the elderly.”

Another secondary prevention strategy the coalition has implemented is to supply all first responders with Narcan.

Just this year alone, there have been 15 overdose calls to Jefferson County’s 911.

Rev. Shultz said that the coalition, along with Sheriff Jeff Coffey, Chief Chad Cotter of White Pine, Chief Carson Williams of Dandridge PD, and other coalition sectors, such as 180 Youth Ministries, the Addict’s Family, the JC Health Department, have formed an Aftermath group that follows up on all 911 overdose calls, to assist the families who are dealing with addiction.

Sheriff Jeff Coffey emphasizes the importance of having the Aftermath program.

“The Aftermath program will provide information to victims and family members who suffer from addiction – who have overdosed – by providing options for rehabilitation,” said Coffey.

Shultz says there will be free Narcan offered at the fundraiser to those who attend.

“We are so grateful to Fourth Judicial Circuit Court/Recovery Court Judge Carter Moore for donating his time to allow his band to play for this event.”

“Mountain Edge is proud to help worthy causes. Rescue 180 has fought and continues to fight the prescription drug epidemic that plagues our region, and we are honored to be a part of this event,” shares Judge Carter Moore.

The Sheriff Department’s mascot “Deputy Chase” will be on hand to greet the children.

Shultz also wants the community to know that Rescue 180 has on their calendar two more events that will bring solutions to our epidemic.

Coming up on April 16th, 6:30 to 9 pm, at the Field of Dreams, The Alliance for Drug Endangered Children: A Town Hall meeting, with Keynote speakers, Fourth Judicial Circuit Court/Recovery Court Judge Duane Slone, Tommy Farmer of the TBI and Tabetha Curtis , Director of the Alliance for Drug Endangered Children in Tennessee.

Also, on April 27th, there will be a Drug Take Back with the Dandridge Police Department at the Dandridge Food City from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.

Source: Submitted by Rev. Debra Shultz