The first installment of a new series hosted by the Monroe County Community School Corporation will focus on the opioid crisis and youth substance abuse prevention Thursday.
This chapter of “Table Talks: a Mini-Series on Challenges Youth are Facing” will center on processes in place at MCCSC to support students and will also include a panel of experts on substance abuse in Bloomington.
Thursday’s panel will feature Elizabeth Bullock, Monroe County director of the Indiana Department of Child Services; Becky Rose, director of student services at MCCSC; and Matthew Clay, program manager at Centerstone, a provider of mental health services and substance abuse treatment.
“In my time as director in the last two years, we’ve really seen our child-in-need-of-services cases explode, and those would be abuse and neglected children,” Bullock said. “We really believe that’s due to the opioid epidemic.”
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the rate of drug overdose-related deaths from ages 15-24 in Indiana was 2.15 per 100,000 people. The rate for the same demographic during the same year in Monroe Country was 3.44 per 100,000 people.
“This problem is too big for one person," Clay said. "It’s too big for one organization. It’s really going to take everyone working together to really elicit change.”
The federally funded grant for substance-abuse and HIV prevention, which Clay manages, is working to reduce and prevent the onset of substance abuse disorders.
Clay said Centerstone is focused on what he called evidence-based intervention, which employs preventive tactics specifically targeting at-risk populations and factors instead of general groups.
“I think this panel and the whole round table series over the next couple of months is a great opportunity for people in the community who may not be aware of organizations like Centerstone and some of the evidence-based interventions that are taking place,” Clay said.
Attendees of the series will be able to ask questions of the panelists and engage in a discussion on the topic.
The event will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at the MCCSC Co-Lab.
The second part of the series will happenDec. 14 and will focus on sexting and social media. The third will explore bullying and relationships Jan. 18.
“It’s easier not to talk about this issue, but I think that we’re in such a crisis right now that ensuring children are aware that drugs do exist in their young world is important,” Bullock said.