Access Health hosting opioid seminars

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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“The year of 2021 was indeed very busy for Access Health Louisiana,” says Angela Houlemard, Director of Community Engagement for Access Health Louisiana, “Access Health Louisiana has been steadfast in giving back to the community and collaborating with Washington Parish Community Partners to support the many needs of the community and families.”

Access Health Louisiana has hosted several Bogalusa back-to-school events in the past. In 2021, the company participated in community back to school events and was as well present at the Bogalusa City School’s Meet and Greets for Central Elementary, Bogalusa High, and Bryd Avenue Primary schools. There were opportunities for parents to sign up for Access Health Louisiana free raffles during the Washington Parish events in Bogalusa and Franklinton. Access Health Louisiana raffled off hefty back-to-school baskets and $50 gift cards.

In addition to the raffles, the nonprofit company also donated an assortment of school necessity items, such as school paper, pens, pencils, calculators, folders, binders, spiral notebooks, dividers, pencil cases, composition notebooks, journals, crayons, markers, liquid eraser tape, dry erase boards, kinder mats, blankets, backpacks, glue sticks, Kleenex, elementary school aged undergarments, recorders and air pods. Parents also received free newsletters equipped with helpful health educational articles and other resource information. There were a little over 600 families that visited with Access Health Louisiana during the Washington Parish back to school events in 2021.

Most recently, Access Health Louisiana hosted a Drive-By Washington Parish Drug Take Back on Dec. 16, 2021.

“The many months of preparations was worth it and we were thankful for all of the Community Partners that came out to support this event,” Houlemard said. “Many residents were able to turn in unused medications, grab a free meal and a host of other great resources during the Drug Take Back. Collaboratively, close to eight pounds of unused medications was turned in in just two hours.”

Deterra Packets, which helps with safely discarding unused medications, were also distributed along with Narcan and instructions on how to utilize. COVID-19 vaccinations and testing were also offered during the event.

Save the date for the next Access Health Louisiana “Recovery is Real, Family Matters” seminar event — a two-part opioid use disorder seminar, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 22, and Saturday, Jan. 29, from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. each day. The event is free to the community.

“We have a great line up of presenters and our message will be from a family aspect as sometimes families often experience challenges with understanding the rationale behind opioid use disorders of loved ones,” Houlemard said. “The seminar will provide a very meaningful and empowering take home message for community residents. We want the attendees to walk away with a sense that recovery is real, and that having family support is so impactful and essential to recovery. You will not want to miss this event.”

The seminars will be held at the Bogalusa High School gymnasium. There will be a free continental breakfast provided, sponsored by Healthy Blue (while supplies last), along with other great educational resource giveaways for attendants.

Scheduled topics and presenters include:

  • “Concept of Addiction” — Adam Rivas, Licensed Professional Counselor.
  • “A Personal Story; Supporting a Family Member” — Mary Balado, Co-facilitator of PAL (Parents of Addicted Loved Ones) support group.
  • “Behavioral Health Impact on Families” — Tonja Myles, Advocate, Subject matter expert in addiction, mental health, and untreated trauma.
  • “Overcoming Adversity in a Seemingly Hopeless Situation” — Ruthie Bolton, two-time Gold Medalist, Former WNBA Player and 2021 Women’s Olympics Coach, Community Advocate.
  • “How to Talk to Your Loved Ones” — Vanice Zenon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Assistant Vice President of Behavior Health.
  • “Role of the Faith Based Community” — Pastor Jerome Warren, Pastor of Greater Hayes Creek Church in Franklinton.

Access Health Louisiana operates two federally funded local community health centers in Bogalusa — Washington Community Health Center located at 2807 S. Columbia St. and Bogalusa High School Based Health Center, located at 100 M.J. Israel Drive. Both health centers provide primary medical care and behavioral health care services, which includes annual well checks, immunizations, sports physicals, acute and diagnostic services as well as counseling and psychiatry services.

“Even if someone does not have insurance, they can still be seen at the Access Health Louisiana health care facilities,” Houlemard said. “It’s all about access and convenience to much needed resources in Washington Parish and Access Health Louisiana is honored to impact adults and children whether it be at our clinics or during community events.”

Access Health Louisiana operates 33 Community Health Centers in 12 parishes. For more information, visit or call 1-866-530-6111.