Resource fair presents York County's tools for fighting opioid epidemic


As York County continues to fight the opioid epidemic, the county's collaborative dedicated to the issue wants the community to have all the tools at their disposal.

"I don’t think people are aware of all the resources we have in the community," said Amanda Gable, administrator of the York Opioid Collaborative.

Until you need one, you might not know it exists, she said.

More than 20 local organizations have registered for the Community Resource Fair at the Byrnes Health Education Center on Wednesday, March 21.

The center, in partnership with the collaborative, the York/Adams Drug & Alcohol Commission and the York Recovery Committee, is hosting the organizations, which are not all strictly opioid-related.

Resources for everyone: Gable said the goal is to open the fair to any local organization that provides for the community. 

Resources such as Olivia’s House, which helps grieving children, the Housing Authority of the City of York, the YWCA, Bell Socialization Services, which provides mental health services and housing support, and the York County Elder Abuse Task Force might help with issues surrounding opioid abuse or other problems facing the community.

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Many of them have not been connected with the collaborative previously.

It's also a great opportunity to build a volunteer base, Gable said. Though that is not the main focus of the fair, finding people who have interest and a background in helpful areas of expertise is an underlying benefit.

The fair will have three optional educational presentations: Drugs 101, Addiction 101 and Pathways to Recovery.

Drugs 101 is presented by the Byrnes Health Education Center, for ages 18 and older. It teaches parents and guardians about teenage drug abuse, how to identify the signs and how to discuss these issues with children, according to the center's website. Gable said Wednesday's presentation will have a focus on opioids and prescription drugs.

Addiction 101 is presented by Kathy Jansen, a member of the collaborative and a WellSpan Health psychologist. She will talk about the way the brain changes during addiction, why it's so easy to relapse and how much time it takes to restore the brain chemistry to where it was before addiction, Gable said.

Jansen's presentation does not use big medical terms — it's meant to be easily understandable for everyone, Gable said.

Pathways to Recovery, presented by The RASE Project, shows different avenues an individual can go through to get to recovery.

"Everybody has their own way they navigate through to get to recovery," Gable said.

The nonprofit, which has an office in York County, is staffed entirely by individuals in the recovery community — meaning those currently in or seeking recovery and their families, close friends and loved ones, according to the project's website.

"It’s good to have people who have lived that lifestyle," Gable said.

That could never be my child: Lack of awareness of the dangers of opioids and how they can become addicting is a concern from parents in the community, Gable said.

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"It’s one of the things we’re always asked to give more information on," she said. 

Parents have misconceptions of "that could never be my child," she said, which is something the collaborative hears within school districts. 

A Southern York County School District presentation, in collaboration with the York Opioid Collaborative, called "Not My Child, Not My Family" at Susquehannock High School on Monday, March 19, also will help spread more awareness of the risks.

Evolving with the crisis: Throughout the evolution of the opioid crisis, the York Opioid Collaborative and other area organizations have adapted to best serve the community. 

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WellSpan has drastically decreased its prescribing standards, Gable said, rather than relying on opioids. Not One More — York Chapter has scholarships for treatment and recovery, and the overdose-reversal drug naloxone is being readily distributed.

As the opioid crisis continues, Gable said organizations are still figuring out what to do.

"The problem’s not going away," she said, "and no one has a solution just to put into place," such as protocol from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gable said organizations have to rely on what's worked for other communities, sharing information and working together.