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The Trimble CARES coalition hosted a forum on heroin at Bedford Baptist Church on Tuesday, Apr. 8. The forum was led by Coalition coordinator, Daisy Toppett, MBA, MSW. Those in attendance heard a young lady, Abby Houchens and her mother Natalie Houchens, Oldham County residents, and Henry County resident Scott Nation tell their family’s story of addiction and recovery.
The younger Houchens was an honor roll student, on the soccer team, taught Sunday school, and came from a supportive family. “My self-perfectionism ate me alive and no one knew,” Abby Houchens told the assemblage. “I was too ashamed to tell anyone who I really had become.”
Approximately a year after she left for college, having never used drugs before, Houchens injected heroin for first time. Abby walked the audience through her story of addiction, describing days of not being able to get out of bed, losing her family and hitting rock bottom. Abby described her changing moment as “waking up and realizing the drugs, what I thought was my solution, were actually my problem.”
Panel member Dave Roberts, a Kentucky State Police Trooper, presented information on the basics of heroin and the fundamentals of the addiction. Other panel members included Lee Congleton, Trimble County Deputy Coroner and Information Specialist; Trimble County Sheriff Tim Coons, Chief District Judge Jerry Crosby, Mark Fisher, M.S., State Opioid Treatment Administrator with the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities; Deanna Fields, M. Ed., Program Supervisor for Oldham, Henry and Trimble County Drug Court; and Linda Mudd, BA, CADC, Seven Counties Services. Lisa Prewitt, Our Lady of Peace was also present to provide treatment information.
Residents had the opportunity to ask the panel members questions regarding addiction, treatment and resources. When asked what we can do as a community for our youth especially Sheriff Tim Coons responded “We have been taught this for years but know your kids, know where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. Have them involved in the community.”
Residents also expressed concerns regarding the lack of resources in the county while service providers, Our Lady of Peace, Oldham, Henry and Trimble Drug Court, and Seven Counties informed the group what services they can provide to the county.
“I believe we are all aware there is a lack of resources in our rural community,” Toppett said, “however, there are also perhaps resources we are not all aware of and underutilizing. Eliminating these barriers to services is what we are addressing as a Coalition and I hope people continue to get involved.”
The forum was a big success, organizers said.
“We have already received a lot of positive feedback,” Toppett said. “There was a great turnout and people were involved. They listened, asked questions and gave their input. I hope this is the beginning of many similar events in our county, that it continues to grow in participating and it sparks new discussion in our homes, schools, churches and communities.”
Trimble CARES is a federal Drug Free Communities Project and is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the Trimble Board of Education. The coalition works in collaboration with Trimble County Youth Services, Denise Hall, Coordinator of Youth Services and Drug Free Communities Project Director.