TOP PHOTO: Scott County’s STAND Coalition Director Trent Coffey spoke at Thursday’s anti-drug coalition meeting held at TCAT. Coffey was instrumental in getting Campbell County’s drug coalition reignited recently through the aid of state grant dollars and mentorship.

By Charlotte Underwood 

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Campbell United held its anti-drug coalition meeting on Thursday morning at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Jacksboro. 

Community leaders and local organization members attended the meeting.

This was the “reignition” of the program, according to Trent Coffey with Scott County’s STAND Coalition. He is the executive director there. The STAND has been a coalition for 25 years and is the non-profit organization that received the grant funding from the state to start Campbell County’s anti-drug coalition once more. It was initially started about a year and a half ago, but did not receive grant funding to maintain the program. 

“The structure was there, but we needed funding and the person to keep it going,” Coffey said.

Several months ago, Coffey was approached by the state which had grant funding “left over” and he was asked where it should be spent.

Coffey said he wanted to start up Campbell County’s anti-drug coalition again “and pick up where it was left off.” He is acting as Campbell United’s Physical agent until the organization receives its own 501c(3) designation.

“We had such a great base in Campbell County, I knew we could get this coalition started again. They gave us $40,000 and we were able to re-ignite the coalition. We hired Charlsa Honeycutt to head up Campbell United; she came highly recommended, and we needed that person to spearhead this initiative,” Coffey said.

Jacksboro TCAT President Debbie Petree is the chairperson for Campbell United. 

Those in attendance at the meeting discussed some of the problems the community faces such as homelessness, drug use, drug overdoses, lack of mental health care, generational poverty, matching up people with local resources and much more.

Coffey said that there “was no silver bullet solution” to solve these problems. 

“We have to change mind sets and listen to our community. Don’t get discouraged. We are going for some small wins at first, and I’m remaining committed to keeping this funded,” Coffey said. 

Catherine Brunson with Prevention Alliance Tennessee spoke briefly, saying that counties that have anti-drug coalitions greatly reduce drug usage in their areas and the amount of drug overdoses.

“Everyone sees substance abuse from a different lens. What are small things we can do to start impacting our community,” Brunson said. She works in eight Tennessee counties.

“We want this coalition to help fill in the gaps in services in the community. The Children’s Center and CASA, and the court system, you guys are the experts in your field. We want to be able to refer to you and help you fill in the gaps in services,” Coffey said. 

Key highlights from the meeting included the importance of getting people to resources, getting a community resource event together, the need for more education and overall community awareness and the “collaboration of efforts on working together.”

Other needs addressed included educational vaping classes and pushing resource information so that those in need have access; such as grandparents raising kids can have access to local resources. Another need identified was for positive mentorship programs. 

According to Coffey, the idea is to enhance the organizations that Campbell County already has in place such as area youth groups in local schools, local non-profits and others by “working together.”

The next Campbell United anti-drug coalition meeting is set for Thursday, February 8th at noon at TCAT.

“The more people within the community that are involved, the more resources we can provide. We want everyone at the table,” Brunson said. 

For those interested in more information about the Campbell United anti-drug coalition can contact Director Charlsa Honeycutt at 423.907.2908. The website and Facebook page for Campbell United are currently under construction.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/12/2024-6AM)