Local group plans to go door-to-door to battle addiction

BUCKHANNON — Knowing where to find resources to aid in the battle against drug addiction is the first step to getting help.

On Saturday, March 3, Neighbors in Action West Virginia will be going door-to-door on several streets to share a resource page for getting help with local residents.

Neighbors in Action West Virginia is a door-to-door campaign driven by the community where neighbors can provide neighbors information on where to get access to substance abuse treatment and recovery.

The idea came from a conversation founder Wayne Worth had with a friend, Mark Jackson, in the Clarksburg Kroger parking lot in December 2016.

“He said, “We have to do something about this drug problem,” Worth said. “The weekend. Before there were three overdose deaths in Clarksburg alone. For a small city that is a lot.”

Worth shared what prevention partnerships were doing but Jackson told him the thought there were too many meetings with good information but it wasn’t getting disseminated to the public.

“I said the only thing I know to do is to start a group, go door to door and take everything we learned at the prevention meetings, put those on a flier, start knocking on doors and talking about the importance of keeping it off our streets,” he said.

So by Dec. 10, 2016, four volunteers armed with a half-sheet of resource phone numbers began knocking on doors on a very cold, windy day.

“We didn’t know exactly how people were going to react,” he said. “We knocked on 100 doors and spoke with about 50 people. The reaction was positive and they said they didn’t know many of these resources.”

There were people working for community health organizations and the school system who asked for additional fliers to take to work.

The momentum from that first Saturday morning kept building and volunteers would traverse different neighborhoods for the first half of 2017.

“Most of the time we would garner about five or six volunteers,” he said. “One week we got 18 volunteers. The City of Bridgeport and Clarksburg caught wind of this. I made them a one-page flyer and they put it in their water bills and the fire fees bills.

“From there, it evolved into a pretty great thing.”

The project took a break during the summer and picked up again in September, this time going every other week instead of weekly.

One suggestion received from the community was to include the crime tip lines, something Worth said he did.

So far, Neighbors in Action West Virginia have knocked on 3,000 doors in Harrison County.

“The results we have had are pretty amazing,” he said. “We are supposed to get some new numbers coming in from HIDTA.”

However, Worth said the drug overdose death rate in Harrison County significantly dropped.

“We are trying to get statistics state-wide,” he said.

Worth feels resources like the state helpline 1-844-HELP4WV are important for the public to know.

“We have had double the calls on that 844-number seeking help,” he said. “To us, we feel like our door-to-door efforts have really gotten people access to the 844 help line number which connect them with substance abuse treatment resources.

Past Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin allocated funds for the help line after his brother began struggling with drug addiction.

“As the governor of West Virginia, he didn’t even know how to help his brother,” Worth said. “How do you navigate these resources?”

“Nobody knows about this,” he said. “This is why we have decided to take it to every West Virginia County. We have seen how successful it is in Harrison County and we wanted to plant a seed for that to happen in every county.”

On Saturday, March 3, Worth said Neighbors in Action West Virginia will gather at Jawbone Park at 10:30 a.m. After an overview and gathering time, the volunteers will begin knocking on doors and sharing the flyers with local residents from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Upshur County residents interested in helping should be at Jawbone by 10:30 a.m.

Neighbors in Action will head to Belington in the afternoon. Copies of the fliers will be provided.

Worth said while his family hasn’t been touched by the drug abuse, he sees its effects on others, noting how the founder of Mothers Against Addiction in Harrison County has also joined his group as a way to do something to fight back against drug addiction.

“I think it’s personal for all of us,” he said. “The reason we are going to door-to-door is one, if someone you love came to you right now and said they were ready to get help, would you know how to help them right now? Most people would say no.

“Two, if we can turn one life around and away from drugs, that is one less customer for drug dealers. If we can get people to turn their lives around and multiply that by say, even 300 people, then they are going to go out of business.”

The Buckhannon flier will include information and contacts for groups working in Upshur County such as Opportunity House and Celebrate Recovery as well as the state help line.

To learn more, visit Neighbors in Action West Virginia on Facebook. An event page for the Buckhannon action has also been created.

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