May 17 public forum focuses on substance abuse


(Posted May 12, 2017)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

What are the signs and symptoms of substance abuse? How does the judicial system handle drug-related cases? What resources are available? How can I help? How can I get help?

On May 17, London Mayor Patrick Closser will host the Madison County Community Conversation to address these and other questions about substance abuse. The public forum is designed to be an open conversation; anyone is welcome to share comments, concerns and suggestions.

The event was inspired by a candlelight vigil held in London earlier this year to remember those who have lost their lives to drug addiction and to connect those who are fighting addiction to resources. The vigil came after reports of a string of overdoses in Clark County, one victim of which was from London.

“I could see that people want to come together as a community to curb this epidemic. That’s where the town hall forum idea came from,” Closser said.

The forum will take place in the London High School auditorium, 336 Elm St., London. Doors open at 5:15 p.m., at which time attendees can visit resource information tables. At 6 p.m., Closser will introduce panelists, each of whom will give a 10-minute overview of their area of expertise. The panelists are:

  • Madison County Sheriff Jim Sabin;
  • Madison County Common Pleas Judge Eamon Costello;
  • Dr. Lou Kramer, superintendent of London City Schools;
  • Chris Cook, Madison County health commissioner;
  • Greta Mayer, CEO of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties;
  • Rev. Melvyn Huguely of St. Paul AME Church; and
  • Kathy Brinkman, an area resident who is in long-term recovery.

After the panelists give their introductions, the question-and-answer period will run from 7:20 to 7:50. Any leftover questions will be directed to the appropriate experts, with answers posted on the city of London’s website and social media pages. Closser said he also hopes to post a video recording of the evening’s event online.

After closing remarks, the audience will be invited to visit the resource tables and enjoy refreshments from 8 to 9 p.m. Also planned for this period is a training on the use of Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdoses.

Closser emphasizes that the May 17 Community Conversation is open to anyone.

“This is not a London thing. It’s in London and I put it together, but this is a Madison County thing,” he said. “Anybody and everybody is welcome to attend. One way or another, we’re all effected by this.”


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