By Hannah Dunbar
Wednesday Aug. 19 began the 14-week series of “Combatting Chemical Dependency: A Community Effort” sponsored by The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services, Hancock County Community Partnership, and Hancock County Opiate Task Force.
Increasing the public’s understanding of addiction is the goal of the community learning series. All classes are free and open to community members in room 2225 in the Davis building on UF’s Campus, from 6-8 p.m. every Wednesday evening through Nov. 18.
Professor of pharmaceutical sciences, Dr. Milks’ passion for drug education and prevention has led him to be an important contributor to this series.
“I want everyone to own this problem,” said Milks. “Even if we are not affected directly, we need to step up and commit ourselves to being part of this solution.”
According to Milks, the Findlay and Hancock County area has a significant drug problem; however, he hopes these classes not only help individuals in Hancock Co., but throughout the state as well.
“This county is blessed with a lot of proactive leaders all the way up and down the ranks,” said Milks.
Milks is not the only individual who has a desire to help others. Tony Grotrian and Becky Stockard, two attendees from the class on Aug. 19, volunteer their time every week to help families in need.
“I heard about this event through an email from the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services,” said Stockard. “I want to educate myself as much as I can to help others.”
Stockard said she, her husband, and Gotrian facilitate a family peer support group once a week for families struggling with the effects of chemical dependency. After losing his grandson to a heroin overdose, Gotrian said he travels the country in order to educate himself and others on the dangers of drug use.
“If I can learn something that will help another family avoid that kind of loss, that’s why I do it,” said Goltrian.
Both Goltrian and Stockard said they liked the first session and that the two hours seemed to fly by.
Milks says that approximately one year ago, the idea of this community learning series was formed and began to take root when John Stanovich, assistant dean of pharmacy, external programs at The University of Findlay, approached Milks and asked him to join the Hancock County Opiate Task Force.
“We bounced the idea off of a few people to offer a course and invite the community for free,” said Milks. “Two employees from the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services wrote a grant and the Hancock County Community Partnership funded the classes for $3,500.”
Milks was the first individual to present on Aug. 19, followed by Sherriff Michael Heldman on Aug. 26. The series will take a different turn when Judge Reginald Routson speaks about criminal justice and chemical dependency Wednesday Sept. 2.
“I think we’ve got a nice roster of individuals,” said Milks. “All of these people have a little piece to share and the community, the state, and the country needs to wake up because this is costing us millions of lives.”
Among the individuals and services presenting information throughout the next few weeks are Century Health, Findlay City Schools, Family Resource Center, and Rep. Robert Sprague.
For a complete schedule of the classes, visit yourpathtohealth.org and click on “Community Learning Series.” For questions regarding this series, please call 419-424-1985.