Branson Area Eyeing Substance Abuse Solutions

Solutions Part Of Initiative Through Skaggs Foundation and Cox Branson

BRANSON, Mo. – The Branson area continues its initiative to prevent substance abuse in the community.

After months of research and assessment, the Skaggs Foundation and Cox Medical Center Branson have outlined key concepts to combat drug use in Stone and Taney Counties.

The concepts are the result of multiple meetings between local leaders and project consultant Dr. William Geary. Geary told KOLR he was encouraged the area was taking a proactive approach to its problem before experiencing a “drug crisis” –- a theme he’s seen in other states.

"I think the good thing here is, it was pretty obvious out of the gate that this was a group of leaders that were anxious to do something,” said Geary back in April.

The meetings resulted in two key areas of focus: opioid use and alcohol abuse.

“[Alcohol] is a legal substance and a lot of people don't think of it as being a problem but it is,” says project coordinator, Marietta Hagen. “It has consequences on the schools, the communities, businesses --work force consequences."

Hagen says other substances such as meth and marijuana were also high on the priority list of community leaders, but Skaggs felt it important to focus its efforts.

Some of those efforts are expected to center around concepts such as coordinating discussion between recovery centers, improving community awareness and collecting local data that can be easily accessed.

"We want to create a source that not only the regular community member can come to,” she says. “But those agencies that maybe are trying to get a grant can use as a source of information."

Hagen says research also shows education could have the higher return on investment.

"Basically, it's the idea of getting a prevention specialist into the schools to teach mostly its character education to those young earlier grades,” she says.

While the concepts are still just recommendations, Hagen says they will be used to craft plans that can sustain the project’s momentum.

"We realize that this is a long-term process,” she says, “prevention takes a long time to implement correctly to get results from."

The initiative has also examined employment and education-related factors that lead to substance abuse.

To read the full assessment click here: 

 

 


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