Lawmakers say community support necessary to combat drug problem

Siegrist

People in Tippecanoe County can help combat the mental health and substance abuse problem by attending a legislative forum Monday evening.

Posted: Dec. 11, 2017 6:31 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — People in Tippecanoe County can help combat the mental health and substance abuse problem by attending a legislative forum Monday evening.

Several lawmakers are expected to attend, but here's why they want you to be there too.

State Representative Sally Siegrist says when it comes to fighting the county's mental health and substance abuse problem, we can't sit on the sidelines.

"We tend sometimes as individuals to underplay our importance or our ability to affect change," said Siegrist: "You can as an individual have an effect on this very real and growing problem."

Growing indeed.

So far this year, Tippecanoe County Coroner Donna Avolt says 33 people died from drugs or alcohol.

But without Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service giving Narcan to 430 people this year, TEAS Director Darrell Clase said, "those numbers would probably be higher. So, I'm encouraged by the fact that everyone is so proactive they are taking the stances to look at the situation and I think because of steps like that it's keeping the numbers lower."

Clase is presenting at the forum Monday evening. He's going to talk about the nearly 200 spice overdose calls this year. He's hoping legislators can do something to curb the spice problem in this community.

"So, if they could come up with something I would be all for it because those are the types of calls that in my mind are preventable," said Clase.

But again, it's not something lawmakers can do alone. Siegrist says it's going to take people from all walks of life to come together.

"Because their personal experience is what's shaping policy," said Siegrist.

Senator Ron Alting and State Representative Sheila Klinker also plan to be at Monday night's forum.

It starts at 6:30 in the Tippecanoe Room at the Tippecanoe County Building on North Third Street.

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