Social issues were prominent at the September 6th Pike County Commissioners’ meeting. A countywide task force to deal with the opiate crisis are among the initiatives planned this month.

MILFORD - Social issues were prominent at the September 6th Pike County Commissioners’ meeting. A countywide task force to deal with the opiate crisis are among the initiatives planned this month.

Chairman Matthew Osterberg announced the formation of the Pike County Opiate Task Force. All concerned parties, including the general public, are invited to the kickoff meeting, set for Wednesday, September 27. The meeting starts at 10 a.m., at the Pike County Training Center.

“It’s important that we form a county-wide task force,” Osterberg said, citing the several different programs that have been created over the years. “This is to bring everybody together in one room so we can discuss the issue going on in our county.”

Pike County Training Center is located along Pike County Boulevard off PA Route 739, Lords Valley. This is between Route 6 and Interstate 84, Exit 34.

Carbon-Monroe-Pike (C-M-P) Drug & Alcohol Commission organized the meeting. Osterberg said that the state has asked for the task force, to gather a better assessment of who is being impacted by drug addiction issues. “The state likes the numbers,” Osterberg said, and wants to know how many are impacted from various sectors of the local society- not only from those who have family members arrested or jailed.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be people who are incarcerated. There are many people suffering out there in all of this who aren’t in the criminal justice system,” Osterberg said.

“But they need our help just as much and they need to know we are here for them to give them the assistance they need.”

Along with the general public, invitation has been extended to the school districts, physicians, probation department and others to come and discuss strategies to address the opiate crisis.

“This is just another tool the county is looking to do to put in place so we can address this as a community,” the Chairman stated. “Because that is what it will take to fix this.”
Commissioner Steve Guccini stated that the University of Pittsburgh will send a coordinator, at no cost to the county, to help organize the group and come up with specific goals and objectives.

Hope 4 Pike

Heather Day, vice-president of Hope 4 Pike, shared about their mission to support those who are impacted by addiction. They started about a year and a half ago, and offers a monthly support group as well as a business meeting twice a month, open to all who wish to assist.

Hope 4 Pike seeks to spread awareness of the addiction issue, educate the general public and provide support ti individuals and families in various stages of addiction and recovery. Day stressed that although there remains a stigma attached to addiction, the truth is that anybody, from any walk of life, can have these struggles.

Donations are raised by the nonprofit organization. A speaker has been planned for special assembly meetings at Delaware Valley High School.

At the addiction support group, there are facilitated discussions about topics related to addiction along with opportunities for support and sharing. Family members, friends and anyone on recovery are welcome to attend. They meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Jen Murphy Fitness, upstairs. Enter through the back of the building. The address is 113 West Harford St., Milford. Kimberly Kowalik-Smith is the facilitator.

For more information email HOPE4PIKE@gmail.com and visit on Facebook.

Recovery Walk

Carbon-Monroe-Pike (C-M-P) Drug & Alcohol Commission is hosting their third annual Recovery Walk Saturday, September 16 in Milford. Jonah Talbott welcomed all to attend. The event starts at 10 a.m. at Ann Street Memorial Park, Milford.

Guest speakers will share about recovery from addiction. There will be snacks, music and various vendors providing information about the services they offer.

He emphasized that despite the stigma, addiction is a disease that can be managed, and people can recover and live well.

Suicide Awareness Walk

Kathy Wallace, President of the Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative, spoke about the annual “Share the Journey” Wayne/Pike Counties Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Awareness Walk.

This is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 at Wallenpaupack Area High School’s athletic track. Registration is at 10 a.m. There is no charge and this is a family-friendly event. No pets are allowed.

Donations stay within Wayne and Pike counties for local suicide prevention programs.
Purposes of the walk include sharing their grief and honoring their loved ones; to raise awareness that most suicides are the result of severe depression; to fight the stigma that stops people from asking for help; to raise funds for programs and to offer community programs on suicide prevention.

Register or donate on the day of the event, or online at www.northeastsuicidepreventioninitiatve.org.

For help, call the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741-741.
Wallace commented that the goals of the group hosting the addiction Recovery Walk supports the mission of the Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative as well. Jonah Talbott agreed, that there are many facets, and much of it is intertwined.

Hunger awareness

Commissioner Osterberg, who also chairs the United Way of Pike County, added that September is “Hunger Awareness Month.” He asked that this is a good time to donate to your local food pantry.

On Saturday, September 30, the United Way will be collecting food for the food pantries, at Key Foods in Milford. This is in partnership with local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. This is the first time the United Way is doing this. He said they hope to expand this to other markets.

“There are many in the community which much less than we have and we all need to recognize that. Obviously the County Commissioners fully realize that, with all the things you see on the agenda,” he said near the end of the meeting. “It’s just another part of… working together to help our neighbors, and that is what this is all about.”
The Pike County Commissioners meets on the first and third Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Administration Building, 506 Broad St., Milford, Pa.