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Regional Task Force Holds Public Meeting
By: Jeremy DeighanApril 26, 2024

Regional Task Force Holds Public Meeting

Elkins W. Va., April 26, 2024: The Regional Task Force on Addiction, Homelessness, and Mental Health convened Tuesday at Elkins City Hall for a public meeting aimed at updating the community on its progress in tackling substance abuse issues. Since its inception in 2021, the task force has been diligently working on strategies to address these pressing concerns in the Elkins area.

The Regional Task Force on Addiction, Homelessness, and Mental Health is a collaborative effort comprising community leaders, professionals, first responders, and stakeholders dedicated to addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by substance abuse, homelessness, and mental health issues in the Elkins area. Through strategic partnerships and evidence-based interventions, the task force aims to enhance access to treatment, support services, and resources, fostering a safer and more supportive environment for all residents.

In attendance at Tuesday’s meeting were Dave Parker (City Councilor & Chair of the Task Force), Jerry Marco (Elkins Mayor), Travis Bennett (Elkins Chief of Police), Markie Jeffries (Peer Recovery Support Specialist for the Task Force), Liz Roberts (Elkins Executive Secretary), Heather Fields (Community Access Liaison & Admin of Recovery Resource Group Behavioral Health, or RRG), Ryan Fields (Owner & Founder of RRG), Justice Brookover (Coordinator of A.N.T. Recovery), Terry Danielson (CEO of RRG), and Rob Williamson (Owner & Founder of RRG & A.N.T. Recovery).

The meeting agenda covered crucial updates on several fronts, including sober living facilities, the allocation and utilization of opioid settlement funds, and the pivotal role of peer recovery support specialists.

Mayor Jerry Marco underscored the task force’s commitment to addressing both immediate needs and preventative measures.

“We’re actually very fortunate to have these services that we do in a city this size,” remarked Elkins Mayor Jerry Marco. “What we are focusing on now is saying ‘what are our deficiencies and how can we fill those voids?’”

Dave Parker provided insights into the establishment of the Opioid Settlement Fund, emphasizing the importance of local interventions to directly assist individuals seeking recovery and their families.

“We believe the money should be used on the ground, at the grass-roots level,” stated Parker, “to provide direct care to those who are seeking recovery and their support, and for their children who have been deeply impacted by this, and for their care givers.”

Markie Jeffries, a Peer Recovery Support Specialist, shed light on the impactful role of her work in facilitating successful treatment outcomes and reintegration into society. Rob Williamson, Founder of A.N.T. Recovery and RRG Behavioral Health, highlighted the significance of community support in maintaining sobriety, underscoring the recent establishment of sober living homes in Elkins. Terry Danielson, CEO of RRG Behavioral Health, unveiled plans for expanding services to address the growing need for comprehensive care, including the development of an inpatient facility in Elkins specializing in detox and stabilization—a vital resource currently lacking in the region.

Looking ahead, the task force identified a crucial focus on supporting children affected by substance abuse, outlining initiatives to involve school counselors and therapists in providing essential support services.

The meeting concluded with an interactive session, inviting questions and feedback from the audience, underscoring the collaborative spirit and shared commitment to fostering a healthier, more resilient community.

“If we can save one person,” said Marco, “that’s not one individual, that’s one family that’s getting healthy. It impacts so many people.”

You can view the recorded live stream of this meeting at:
www.youtube.com/live/x6UKJixPZLY

If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance-abuse problems, please contact 211 for Essential Community Services here:
www.211.org

 

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