Clinton Organizations Developing Outreach Programs & Drug Therapy to Fight Opioid Epidemic

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CLINTON, Iowa (KWQC) — Drug therapy and outreach programs to fight the opioid problem. A group in Clinton is working on this after the city got $ 500,000.00 grant.

It’s no secret that the City of Clinton like any community is facing a drug addiction issue.

“Crack, cocaine, meth, anything to make me go fast I wanted to do it,” Randy Thornton, recovering drug user.

Randy Thornton is well familiar with the struggle of addiction.

“Started using and couldn’t stop,” said Thornton.

It took him getting arrested and going to a halfway house for nearly five months to turn his life around.

“I learned to actually control my anger. I have major anger problems,” said Thornton. “More less, I don’t have to use drugs to keep going,”

Its stories like Thornton’s that the city has seen or heard.

“This is not just a Clinton problem, this is a nationwide problem,” said Kristin Huisenga, Executive Director of the Clinton Substance Abuse Council/ Coalition Coordinator for Gateway ImpACT Coalition.

With the help of the federal government, a half a million dollar grant was given to the city October, 2018, to help tackle the opioid abuse epidemic.

Since then, a collaborative effort between the City of Clinton, Clinton Police Department, Clinton Fire Department, Mercy Medical Center, Area Substance Abuse Council, Bridgeview Community Health Center, and the Gateway ImpACT Coalition formed.

The groups will work together to identify, educate, treat, and prevent further instances of opioid abuse, addiction and fatalities within the community.

“We really want to help them get the resources that they need,” said Huisenga.

Although the grant money hasn’t kicked in yet. A drug response team, an outreach and a medication assisted treatment program is being developed. It will provide addicts treatment and therapy through Mercy Hospital.

“Help those people addicted in our community or prevent people from becoming addicted in our own community,” said Huisenga.

An effort Thornton says will help those that walked a similar path like him.

“Would something like that benefit certain people, yes, me, my will power is to just stay away from the people I was with,” said Thornton.

Thornton says he has not used drugs since he returned from the halfway house. He had a job interview on Thursday and got the job.

The Gateway Impact Coalition says prescription pills aren’t the only problem. They’re also seeing an increase in meth use and other street drugs.