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People of God standing together to combat Opioid crisis

The United Pastors in Mission (UPM), a local group of ministers met with representatives from various agencies including the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) and their new CEO Scott Osiecki to discuss help in the community with drug addition and mental health.

UPM believes there are already too many problems facing the community, in addition to the scourge of painkillers, heroin, fentanyl, alcohol and drugs sweeping the Greater Cleveland community and produced a flood of bewildered families and children. Rev. Jimmy Gates stated, “Many are now losing their parents to drug use or overdose, giving rise to children now living with foster families or relatives.”

The UPM members were made aware of how studies show the number of children needing foster homes due to drug overdose having increased in Greater Cleveland and have even quadrupled. All who attended agreed how family dynamic changes quickly for children who were raised with a loving mom or dad and now seeing them transformed into a terrible parents spending hours in isolation form the family.

UPM believes the funding of the Opioid crisis in Greater Cleveland is also contingent upon direct intervention from institutions like the ADAMHS Board partnering with the St. Vincent and the Metro Health Hospitals. Dr. Macon, the UPM president stated, “We must build partnerships and walls so drugs stop flowing in our communities. Also, we must educate families to not only the cause but also prevention of drug overdose. Also, we must help those having mental health issues.”

The pastors and ministers highly recommended and supported the idea of re-opening the former Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center located on the corner of 22nd Street and Central Avenue in downtown Cleveland to deal with the crisis. Rev. Larry Harris said, "It can provide a safe place for counseling and short-term stay and is located down the street from St. Vincent Medical Center where treatment can be given.”

UPM also recommended that a similar facility be made available on the West side of Cleveland working with the MetroHealth Hospital. The ADAMHS’s CEO and representative informed the ministers they have identify a place on the West side. UPM is now looking forward to a meeting with Cuyahoga Executive, Armond Budish for further discussion on how the County’s further commitment to assist in the funding of these facilities will began. The pastors were relentless in expressing their need to see immediate action and forward movement on this drug addiction and mental health crisis.

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