Opioid Task Force raises visibility as COVID imposes social distancing
The Homer City Council received its quarterly update from the Southern Kenai Peninsula Opioid Task Force during its meeting on Monday. Stephanie Stillwell said the organization has been forced to make changes in outreach because of COVID-19.
“We've kind of had to switch gears on some of our initiatives and prioritize things a bit differently,” Stillwell said. “So we wanted to really focus on how we can still remain visible and stay connected in our community through this social distancing experiment we're all in.
One of the things the Task Force is doing is putting up a web presence outside of Facebook.
“It's going to be www.all things addiction.net, and it's powered and sponsored by the Southern Kenai Peninsula Opioid Task Force. And so not only will it be a home to all of the task force initiatives and agendas, but really it's going to be a Southern Kenai Peninsula specific website for resources, for all things that are related to addiction,” Stillwell said.
“So we're also going to have an interactive version of the Road to Recovery Pathway that we all, as a task force, created in 2017.”
Stillwell says that even through the pandemic, treatment services are still available for those who need it.
“Some folks are, or some agencies are offering services via telehealth while others have gone face-to-face depending on each agency's protocols,” she said.
One thing Stillwell says that has changed is how needles are being handled during the pandemic.
“The Exchange continues to operate and provide all the necessary services to the community for harm reduction. They've adapted their process to align for COVID park protocols, so if you haven't visited there before they're doing mostly everything is through drive through services as well,” Stillwell said. “And due to, again, this response our local sharps drop-off site has stopped collecting their home sharps drop-off. So we are instead urging the community to either use The Exchange, or contact The Exchange to arrange a pickup through some of the volunteers for The Exchange.”
The Southern Kenai Peninsula Opioid Task Force holds meetings monthly, now via Zoom, on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The next will be on July 22.