(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – A collaborative community initiative is set to launch in Tuscarawas County as part of the ongoing education and awareness efforts around mental health promotion, substance use and addiction prevention, and treatment and recovery services in the county.
From October 1st, 2020 to October 16th, 2020, Tuscarawas County residents will see silhouettes placed across 9 local communities. One black silhouette, representing overdose deaths in Tuscarawas County; one grey silhouette, representing the number of overdoses in the participating community; and one yellow family, representing Hope. The silhouettes, a total of 27 across the county, will be placed in highly visible areas.
Participating communities include New Philadelphia, Strasburg, Bolivar, Mineral City, Twin City (Dennison/Uhrichsville), Newcomerstown, Midvale, Dover, and Sugarcreek.
On October 1st, a press conference will be held at the Tuscarawas County Courthouse in New Philadelphia at 1:00 p.m. to officially launch Project Hope. Commissioners, mayors, and law enforcement from participating communities will be on hand in addition to representatives across multiple sectors with roles in the local prevention effort.
This effort is in response to the 283% increase in overdose deaths that Tuscarawas County has experienced since 2019. The Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition, and Addiction Task Force (formerly known as the Opiate Task Force) would like to raise awareness that persons who struggle with mental health issues and addiction are at a high risk to harm themselves due to increased stress that has come with the pandemic.
This initiative is to help community members better understand mental health and addiction and to help persons struggling to know that help is available. “We want to create clear visibility that there are services that can help and that there is Hope,” said Jodi Salvo, Coordinator of the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition. “We want to continue to encourage our community to seek and share resources and to realize the importance of checking in on each other.”
Yard signs will also be printed to accompany the silhouettes featuring the numbers of treatment providers and phone numbers to access Naloxone. Naloxone is a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses and is available for free to the public through the local health departments.
On October 17th the silhouettes will be moved to the Tuscarawas County Courthouse in New Philadelphia for an October 25th event that will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., which will be shared to the community via Facebook Live through the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition and ADAHMS Board Facebook pages.
The overall message of this initiative is that Tuscarawas County is a community that cares and there is Hope