PUTNAM COUNTY — April 9 - 15 has been designated a week of appreciation for Ohio professionals on the front lines of the Opioid epidemic. Governor Kasich has joined with Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities to recognize, “The tremendous work going on in communities throughout Ohio to address the opiate epidemic and to specifically show appreciation to frontline workers,” according to a statement posted to Ohio’s Mental Health & Addiction Services website.

In Putnam County, the local ADAMHS Board will be delivering tokens of appreciation to the Sheriff’s office and other area law enforcement agencies, EMS, and frontline professionals throughout the county. In addition the local agency is highlighting a number of in-county programs working to combat the Opioid epidemic.

These programs include those designed for adults, such Drug Free Workplace Training and Support, Pre-Employment & Random Drug Screenings, and Employee Assistance Programs. And, programs meant to help combat the epidemic and support mental health among area youth, such as the Prevention Education program, Diversion program, and Putnam Adolescent Response Team for Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.).

Drug Free Workforce Training partners with businesses to configure a program of policies and activities designed to provide a safe workplace, discourage alcohol and drug abuse and encourage treatment, recovery and the return to work of those employees with such abuse problems.

With Pre-Employment & Random Drug Screenings businesses can lessen the impact from drug abuse in the workplace, including tardiness, absenteeism, turnover, attitude problems, theft, decreased productivity, crime and violence. Provided by Pathways Counseling Center, the agency notes that, “65 percent of all accidents on the job are related to drug or alcohol, and substance abusers utilize 16 times as many health care benefits and are six times more likely to file workers compensation claims then non-abusers.”

Employee Assistance Programs works with area employers to coordinate and provide behavioral health services to their employees. Assessments, diagnoses, counseling, individual and group sessions, and case management are all part of the EAP program.

Prevention Education provides youth and adults with education, skill building, leadership opportunities, and alternative activities to encourage positive behavior and to prevent the use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol. Objectives include teaching youth the necessary skills to resist social (peer) pressure to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Increasing community knowledge of the consequences of subOVERSET FOLLOWS:stance/alcohol use, abuse, and addiction. And, helping youth to develop greater self-efficacy.

The Diversion Program is a three hour educational program designed for youth who have violated an alcohol law or policy in the community, at school, or even within the boundaries of their own home. The program consists of group discussions, activities, and information dissemination. Diversion is designed to influence participants to make low-risk alcohol choices and to decrease high risk choices that could harm them or others. This program is offered bi-monthly at Pathways Counseling Center and includes a fee to the participant.

Putnam Adolescent Response Team for Youth or P.A.R.T.Y. is a youth led group whose mission is to use positive peer pressure to prevent underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. P.A.R.T.Y combines service oriented activities with fun alternatives to drinking and drug use in an attempt to create an environment where P.A.R.T.Y. members can act as role models for their peers.

For all area residents of every age, the Mental Health, Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Board of Putnam County maintains a Crisis Text Line that provides a free, confidential service available via text on mobile devices. Anyone can text the keyword 4HOPE to 741741 and expect a reply from a trained volunteer crisis counselor within five minutes. The message is confidential, anonymous, and secure.