City of Evansville has big plans in tackling substance abuse

City of Evansville has big plans in tackling substance abuse
A crowd gathered at Fairlawn United Methodist Church in Evansville for the Mayor's Traveling City Hall.

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - We have an update on a city-wide initiative to make it easier for substance abusers to get sober.

During Mayor Lloyd Winnecke's monthly Traveling City Hall, community members received updates from the Mayor's Substance Abuse Task Force.

Since last summer, the task force has expanded its focus from meth to opioid abuse and alcohol. We're told the goal is to provide affordable treatment and recovery options readily available in southern Indiana.

One of the programs aims to target addicts who end up in the emergency room or hospital.

"I'm the mother of a deceased addict," task force member and Family Recovery Coach Andrea Grace Phillips told the crowd. "My son lost his battle last year, in 2017 in Evansville."

The new program is called FAST, which stands for Family Addiction Support Team. Phillips' personal experience inspired the initiative. The program aims to support not only the individual suffering from addiction but also their family members.

"One of the things that I experienced along the way, because he did have multiple overdoses, was being in the hospital and not having a lot of resources at that time," Phillips reflected. "And as I have been wanting to make a difference and make his life count for something. I felt like this would be a great way to create something that would be helpful for our community."

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke explained another dream for addiction recovery in the works. He and other task force members toured two recovery centers in western Kentucky last year. One is the Women's Addiction Recovery Manor in Henderson, or WARM for short. The Mayor said he hopes to bring something like it to this side of the river.

"I mean I can just tell you, it moves your heart as soon as you walk in there," Mayor Winnecke said. "The Lieutenant Governor has agreed to tour that facility with us. We're hoping its something we can replicate here in Indiana, and as I've said to our Lt. Governor, we would be happy to be a pilot community for such a program."

There are many community members who are working really hard for this. Not just from elected officials, but from real people affected by addiction.

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