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Coalition fighting to eradicate drugs

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its September meeting at ADAPT. Paula Charles, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) Attorney, addressed the members. She discussed components of civil protective orders and temporary restraining orders. Charles stated that her department provides free help to those in need of filing protective and restraining orders because of domestic violence. SLLS provides services to citizens in Washington and St. Tammany parishes. For more information, contact SLLS at 985-893-0076.

Reports were given by members. Rusty Fornea, ADAPT executive director, announced that ADAPT is continuing to offer all services, including the sexual assault services, which are free. ADAPT has received the Coalition Snapshot from SAMHSA that reports on progress being made by Coalitions. WPCHS showed decreases in all areas of substance use by youth.

“This is an indication that our prevention programs are making a difference,” Fornea said.

Rhonda Gunnell, ADAPT/PFS Director, reported that an Overdose Prevention Awareness Event was held on Monday, Aug. 31, at 6:30 p.m. at the Varnado United Methodist Church. She announced that plans are underway to schedule monthly prevention awareness events at churches throughout the parish. Interested churches can contact Gunnell to schedule an Outdoor Awareness Event with a big screen movie. Gunnell also reported that radio PSAs have been recorded with help from Bruce Sampson and LaDarrick Smith. They will be aired on WBOX radio

Glory Davis, WPCHS president, reminded everyone to fill out the census. Washington Parish is currently ranked 63rd out of 64 parishes for return of census. It is important that everyone completes the census. Davis also reminded everyone to register to vote if they have not done so already.

Gloria Kates, Bogalusa City Council member for District A, announced that the election will be on Nov. 3. She is hosting a virtual voter registration drive. To find out more information, go to her Facebook page or call her at 985-241-1819.

Fornea made an announcement for Jennifer Jones with Early Steps Region 9. With phase 3, Early Steps has started a gradual phasing of in-home visits and childcare center visits, as well as options to continue with teletherapy/hybrid options for service delivery. For more information, call Jones at 504-451-0638.

Fornea made announcements for Brittny Costella with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center that free cancer screenings were being held in Franklinton that day. For more information on free cancer screenings, contact Costella at 985-276-6810.

Attendees at the September meeting included Rhonda Gunnell, Ginger Champagne, Rusty Fornea, Maggie Delaune, Paula Charles, Glory Davis, Maddie Champagne, Dana Walker, Tiffany Crain, Katasha August, Gloria Kates, Toni Staton, AJ Sherrard, Danielle Keys, Lori Chopin, Valerie Jordan, Wendy Castillo and Terri Marse.

The next scheduled meeting for WPCHS will be on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 9:30 a.m. at ADAPT, located at 216 Memphis St. in Bogalusa. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, contact Fornea at 985-735-0160.