In partnership with the Hamilton Area Community Coalition, SOMAC, Southern Madison County Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. will feature special messaging on their ambulance fleet to raise awareness for substance abuse. They hope the message, “Don’t Fool with Alcohol & Drugs” will remind the community to not only make wise choices themselves, but also to recognize the impact drug and alcohol overdose have on emergency service providers.
Most of the SOMAC incident responses when college is in session are alcohol & drug related emergencies. Director of Operations, Kyle Sylvester, has seen more than his share of what misuse of drugs can do. “In 2016 on one weekend alone while college was in session, we had 17 total 911 calls over three days - most of which were alcohol and or drug overdoses of underage patients. That type of rapid need really strains our resources and has potential to have disastrous consequences in our community. One of my biggest concerns is people using street drugs with no idea what they actually contain. One example is the new designer drug carfentanyl that is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. There’s not enough narcan in any ambulance or emergency room to reverse that kind of overdose. These types of overdoses are frequently fatal.”
With overdose deaths on the rise across our region, awareness and prevention efforts become even more important. “The best way to reverse the opioid and drug epidemic is to prevent drug abuse in the first place,” says Melissa Cassulis, HACC Program Coordinator. “Young people who feel connected to their community feel a sense of purpose, and those who have alternative ways to have safe & healthy fun are less likely to choose risky behaviors.”
The message “Don’t Fool With Alcohol & Drugs” is part of an on-going HACC awareness campaign. Throughout the coming weeks, community partners will feature this special logo as the Hamilton community continues to mobilize in an ongoing effort to create a positive, empowering, and constructive environment for young people. For more information on HACC projects visit www.hamiltoncoalition.com.