WILLIAMSON – The Standing Through Our Plan (STOP) Coalition met Wednesday in Williamson at the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC) to discuss meeting topics for the next Town Hall Meeting.
Joshua Murphy, STOP Coalition Prevention Coordinator, said that he wants the Town Hall meeting to “focus on goals and action steps.”
“What are our next steps?” Murphy asked.
Alexis Batausa, Active Living Coordinator, discussed utilizing parts of the floodwall known for being a hot spot for drug activity. “We could utilize sketchier areas by putting lights at the flood wall, increasing police foot traffic and introducing more physical activity,” Batausa said.
Barry Blair with the Williamson Police Department (WPD) said that it is hard for the WPD to patrol these areas. “Our department is too small to do too much. We are never fully staffed,” Blair said.
Murphy also discussed other action steps that STOP is considering.
Establishing a recovery home in the Williamson area is one avenue STOP is exploring. Murphy explained that a house was recently donated to the STOP coalition that could be used as a recovery home.
“The recovery home would be similar to the Cross Roads Recovery House in Gilbert. It is like a half-way house that those in recovery could live at for six months to a year and receive in house coaching and attend daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. It helps people in recovery relearn how to get back into the community,” Murphy said.
Murphy then discussed other actions steps that could be addressed such as educating local communities on how to recognize an overdose and a needle exchange program.
The STOP Coalition also explored possible solutions to getting people under the influence of drugs and alcohol off the streets of downtown Williamson.
Blair said, “These business owners are getting sick and tired of it.”
Blair continued the conversation; discussing problems local law enforcement has addressing these issues. “There is nowhere to take these people that are on the streets. We have no Public Intoxication (PI) shelters in the area. The money just isn’t there to start one,” Blair said.
Murphy mentioned having the STOP Coalition look into possible grants to fund a PI shelter in the area.
The next STOP Coalition meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept., 9. For more information about the STOP Coalition visit www.drugfreemingo.org.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)