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Prevention awareness and education keys to a safer community

Prevention awareness and education keys to a safer community

By Angela Norris

Beech Grove resident Diana Hendricks was inspired to start a local drug prevention program for a very personal reason.

“As an individual whose 21-year marriage ended due to the emotional abuse of my husband’s substance disorder, I knew it would bring me face-to-face with the pain I had not dealt with,” she said.

Hendricks started the Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug Free Coalition (CDFC) in 2016 and continues to spread the word on substance abuse in the community.

“What I like most about the coalition is when we are able to have at least one person that we can lead to treatment, prevention or recovery; that is the best feeling you will ever get,” said Hendricks, who serves as executive director of the coalition. “If we could just get rid of the stigmatized thing that’s going on in our world, where people look down on people with mental health issues, it would be easier for these people to get help.”

Diana Hendricks started
the Beech Grove CDFC in 2016. (Photo by Nicole Davis)

Prevention awareness and education

Paige Anderson, CDFC partner and coordinator for the Prevention Matters Implementation Grant for Beech Grove City Schools, said, “We received our Prevention Matters Grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, and with that grant we are integrating curriculum from fourth grade to ninth grade in our schools. We have two different programs we’re using, both evidence-based programs. One is Botvin LifeSkills Training and the other one is Too Good for Drugs & Violence.”

The CDFC is seeking to reduce substance use disorder/addiction and promote behavioral health in Beech Grove and the surrounding communities by offering community prevention awareness and education.

This year, National Prevention Week is May 12-18. The CDFC is promoting NPW at the Beech Grove Public Library in their main showcase through May 20.

The CDFC offers a free quarterly adult program, sponsored by Drug Free Marion County, called “Youth Substance Misuse & Overdose Prevention.” The program gives parents the resources necessary to talk with their youth about the negative impact of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on young developing minds, as well as knowledge on overdose, the signs of overdose and how Naloxone (Narcan) reverses an opioid overdose. Free Naloxone kits, sponsored by Community Health Network, are provided upon demonstrating the ability to administer the injection of Narcan.

Executive board members of the Beech Grove CDFC. From left, Katrenna Parks, Co-Chair; Melody Stevens, At-Large BGCS representative; Diana Hendricks, Executive Director; Barbara Coulter, Chair; and Suzanne Smock, Secretary. Not pictured is John Parks, Treasurer. (Submitted photo)

The CDFC also hosts a free event called Friendship Rock Painting for youth and adults. The next event is this Saturday, May 18, at the Beech Grove Public Library (in the children’s library) from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The CDFC observes and promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery for substance use and mental disorders through celebrating people in recovery. Observance of the National Recovery Month (NRM) will be held during the Beech Grove Fall Festival in September. Visit the CDFC booth to learn more about substance misuse prevention, treatment and recovery.

The CDFC also attends community fairs and back-to-school days to disseminate prevention, treatment and recovery resources, as well as distribute Deterra Drug Deactivation, a drug disposal pouch for people to dispose of unused, expired or unneeded medications in their own home.

Helping a community become a safer place

The CDFC is a committed group of individuals who have come together to make the Beech Grove community a safer place.

“My reason to have the police department join the coalition is to help the citizens and families that need help,” said Beech Grove Police Department Chief Mark Swartz. “I believe the police department can receive very good resources from the coalition to make our job more informational for the general public.”

“I have been an officer in the city of Beech Grove for almost 16 years of my 20-year law enforcement career,” said BGCS Resource Officer Kelly Spivey. “There is a dire need to educate students regarding prevention, misuse, health concerns, and consequences of using drugs.  I am a liaison for the schools and our police department. I am proud to be a part of the CDFC and all they do.”

Join the coalition in rock painting May 18 at the Beech Grove Library. (Photo by Angela Norris)

Future plans for the CDFC are to implement intervention programs into Beech Grove and the surrounding communities for mindfulness-based stress reduction and offer various support groups. CDFC will continue to work with the Beech Grove City Schools to develop prevention matters support programs.

“There is no greater feeling than being able to fulfill the CDFC mission of reducing youth and adult substance use disorder and addiction by removing the stigma surrounding this disease so those afflicted feel safe to seek treatment,” Hendricks said. “My passion for substance disorder prevention is driven by life experiences and the desire to end the stigma surrounding substance disorder so those afflicted will be free to seek treatment without feeling judged or shamed. It takes a community to keep a community healthy … prevention matters, treatment works and recovery lasts.”

The CDFC mission is: “To establish and strengthen collaboration among community partners that support efforts to reduce youth and adult substance use disorder/addiction in Beech Grove and surrounding communities.”

Highlighting National Recovery Month (NRM) in Beech Grove’s Fall Festival Parade. (Submitted photo)

5 Questions with the CDFC

What led you to join the coalition?

Pastor Paul Kirby, Beech Grove Faith Based Round Table Chair – As you know, I was there at the very beginning. I fully support what this organization is attempting to do and always have and will. There is so much pain and agony associated with this personal and social issue and it is not just the pain of the users, it is the pain suffered as their families watch them disappear and become something quite different than what they had been before they began using.

What is your favorite event?

Diana Hendricks, CDFC Executive Director – As I think on my favorite CDFC event, I can’t say one stands out over the other. What does stand out is the assistance we are able to provide for those in need of prevention, treatment, recovery and loved ones’ support group resources. My heart is not big enough to hold the blessings from God when I see relief in the eyes of the individual seeking assistance and recognizing that they have found a group that will not judge them or make them feel shamed over having substance disorder disease.

What would you say to someone seeking help?

Joan Showalter, CDFC partner, Franciscan Health – I would tell someone seeking help for substance disorder that there is hope. There is help. It is possible to make changes and it’s never too late.

How has your life changed?

Diana Hendricks – Through the process of CDFC program development, substance disorder education and partner/member stories that helped me realize that I am not alone, I was able to heal the wounds of my past.

Where do you see the coalition in five years?

Barbara Coulter, CDFC Chair – In five years, I see the coalition as a strong organization led by a full-time executive director, securing substantial funding through grants and community involvement. I believe that we will have name recognition throughout the community and become an integral part of all community activities. Most importantly, we will provide education to all ages on substance misuse and we will be able to help integrate solid programming into the local school curriculum from elementary forward, educating our youth and helping them make informed choices as they are confronted with the opportunities for substance misuse.

For more information please visit beechgrovecdfc.org or on Facebook, Beech Grove Drug Free. If you would like to donate to the CDFC please send donations to Beech Grove CDFC, P.O. Box 724, Beech Grove, IN 46107. CDFC is a 501(c) (3) organization.

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