Coalition hears local substance abuse stories

Published 4:15 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

By Gail Brigham

For The Daily News

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services recently listened to a presentation from Tracy Galloway, community activist, and State Rep. Malinda White, who both told personal stories of how drug addiction can create destruction in all areas of life as well as the lives of loved ones. Traci Perry, State Opioid Treatment Authority, who was scheduled to speak, was called out to work on Hurricane Harvey.

The meeting was held at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church. The presentations focused on substance abuse, treatment and detox options that are needed for Washington Parish.

A report was given by Galloway on the second annual Community Awareness event to be held at the Cassidy Park back stage at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. Galloway shared her firsthand experience of drug abuse and relapse as well as the drug dealing she witnesses in Bogalusa and surrounding area. She considers herself a vessel with information, which may be of help to those who struggle with substances or are tempted by opioids, alcohol or marijuana.

White talked about the impact of drug abuse on the family, steps to recovery and the lack of resources in the area. She said there are 22 million addicted to opioids in the nation and the struggle is real in Bogalusa and Louisiana. She welcomed everyone to Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival on Sept. 29-30 at Cassidy Park. The North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne, a former substance abuser, will headline the 2017 event and crowd favorites Samantha Fish, Tea J. Moore and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux are all set to return.

Choices of Louisiana has openings for those who are Medicaid-eligible. Choices serves patients who are over the age of 18 with an opiate addiction, who are able to pay for services. These patients come from all socioeconomic, educational, racial, and ethnic groups. All patients will be admitted on voluntary basis to opioid addiction treatment facility using Methadone or Buprenorphine as a stabilizing medication. Although Choices focuses mainly on opiate addiction, other drug abuse issues will be identified and treated with the appropriate methods. Call for an appointment 985-419-1666.

Members from Choices of Louisiaina and Our Lady of the Angels Hospital shared about an event which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, when Amerigroup LA in partnership with Access Health LA, Nurse Family Partnership, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, Regina Coeli Child Development Centers and The Parenting Center of St. Tammany Hospital will host the first ever “Festival of the Young Child” in Bogalusa. The festival will offer hands on, fun, engaging activities for children ages 1-8 years old. Organizations who serve young children and their families are invited to participate in this fun event. The goal is to offer the children and their families an opportunity to engage in fun activities that include music, art, science, math, health, cooking, nutrition and more.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 9:30 a.m. at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church in Bogalusa, with a preliminary committee meeting at 8:30 a.m. The former Covington chief of police, Tim Lentz, will talk about Operation Angel. Healthy refreshments will be served.

To find out more about the Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services, visit online at or like the coalition on Facebook at WPCHS. Find and follow the coalition on Twitter at, or on Instagram at

Gail Brigham is the treasurer of the Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services.