ROSC looking for ways to help Edgar County

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 11/21/22

Substance abuse and how to fight it sometimes seems an overwhelming topic, but a new effort is bringing all parties in Edgar County to the table for another look.

A Recovery Oriented Systems of …

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ROSC looking for ways to help Edgar County

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Substance abuse and how to fight it sometimes seems an overwhelming topic, but a new effort is bringing all parties in Edgar County to the table for another look.

A Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) is getting started locally under a grant to the Central East Alcoholism & Drug Council to expand ROSC to Edgar and other counties. ROSC is not a provider, but rather an umbrella effort that helps coordinate the mutual efforts of various groups while also exchanging information.

The group met Tuesday, Nov. 15.

One project for ROSC is putting Narcan displays into the communities. Narcan is a nasal spray that can temporarily halt an opioid overdose and buy time for first responders to arrive.

The displays will have free Narcan anyone can take along with information about how to use the medicine in both a printed and QR code form. Jonathan Burns, director of the Human Resources Center of Edgar and Clark Counties volunteered the lobby at HRC as one location for such a display.

Displays are not yet ready for the public.

“We are still working on policy and procedure before putting it out,” said Ambrosia Roberts, Edgar County ROSC Coordinator.

Edgar County Sheriff Jeff Wood supports having the Narcan displays in public places and offering training in its use.

“If you see somebody laying in the street and you give them Narcan, it’s not going to hurt them,” said Wood.

The sheriff added attempting to help someone experiencing an overdose does not bring charges for doing so. Illinois has a Good Samaritan law offering that protection.

“If you call 911, you are not going to get arrested for being associated with a person having an overdose,” said Wood.

Part of the discussion at the Nov. 15 meeting was the need for specialized recovery housing and other services to help people rebuild a life after getting out of treatment.

Those present noted Paris has multiple vacant properties that could be used for such a purpose.

“Coming back to the same community is not always a good thing,” said Angie Hamilton, suggesting any recovery housing program created in Edgar County develop an exchange program with other counties. “We need a place where Edgar County people can go, and locally we can accept people from other places.”

Recovery housing, while necessary, is not a panacea, warned Hamilton. She said in a community like Paris, transportation is a must.

“Not everything is in within walking distance,” Hamilton said. “People in recovery will need access to jobs, health care and other services.”

Her other concern is the lag-time between when a person is released from a treatment program and when they can begin seeing a medical provider to continue any prescriptions or other treatment recommended by the recovery center.

According to Hamilton, the delay can result in addicts stop taking medicine and reverting to abusing.

“There should be a handoff,” she said.

Karen Cook, ROSC program supervisor, applauded the aggressive stance the group is taking toward establishing recovery housing.

“It is a large goal,” said Cook. “It won’t happen overnight, but ROSC can provide connections for more information.”

Early work by the ROSC council has identified some strengths in Edgar County for tackling the substance abuse problem.

Roberts listed those strengths as the Community Addiction Response and Education (CARE) Coalition, the presence of HRC and HRC’s education outreach to schools and the Edgar County Public Health Department’s needle exchange program.

Those attending the ROSC meeting agreed to join forces for an outreach program and sponsor a winter coat drive for the homeless and those in need. The drive is Dec. 6-9 and coats may be left at the dermatology office in the basement of Horizon Health’s EZ Care center on state Route 1.