The summit was a great event, with nearly 200 people in attendance and something the city should be proud of for bringing together, but we saw it as the first step in what will undoubtably be a long journey in making a positive impact on the community.
All too often we see community leaders with the best of intentions come together to find solutions to big problems only to lose interest with time. We applaud everyone trying to make a positive impact in their community, but unfortunately, it’s human nature to sometimes move on when progress stops.
We don’t want to see that happen with the city’s focus on educating the public on and reducing the opioid epidemic.
This is one of those big concept issues that could fall by the wayside in another community. But not in Crestview. Mayor Whitten has no intentions of letting the conversation around opioid overdoses fall by the wayside.
We were pleased to hear that Whitten felt the same way about the Overdose Summit that we did.
“If we walk out of (the summit) and don’t do anything else, I have wasted your time, my time and everybody else’s time,” Whitten said.
That is exactly the attitude we were hoping Whitten and the city’s leadership would have.
Whitten told the Crestview News Bulletin that he has already had discussions about forming a new taskforce in Crestview to concentrate on bringing continued awareness and education on the overdose epidemic to the community.
The mayor has also discussed having a virtual meeting in the coming months with some of the key speakers from the summit to reconvene and assess action plans for moving forward.
Crestview’s efforts to combat opioid overdoses will soon become a lot more visible. Signs of Hope is a family-owned digital billboard company in Crestview that has agreed to work with the city on the overdose education.
The city is in the process of designing a billboard about the dangers of Fentanyl and the opioid epidemic and Signs of Hope has agreed to donate advertising space on one of its billboards to share the message.
The city certainly has momentum on its side in trying to make a noticeable impact on the community. We hope that momentum continues for a long time.
If you or someone you care about is facing addiction issues, one way to get help is by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national hotline at 800-487-4889.