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Local

Meet the Jasper County Cares Coalition

Substance abuse and mental health group gets a name change

Heather Smith, an outreach education and overdose prevention specialist in the HIV Special Projects Division at NuCara Pharmacy, conducts a presentation about the intersection of HIV, Hepatitis C and substance abuse.
Heather Smith, an outreach education and overdose prevention specialist in the HIV Special Projects Division at NuCara Pharmacy, conducts a presentation about the intersection of HIV, Hepatitis C and substance abuse.

After joining forces this past spring, advocates of the Jasper County Substance Abuse Coalition and Mental Health Collaboration have come up with a new group name: Jasper County Cares Coalition.

Despite the name change, which is admittedly much shorter, the organization’s message and efforts remain the same and are as strong as ever. Together, the Jasper County Cares Coalition will work to instill positive changes in the community and promote prevention efforts, improve access to treatment and reduce the stigmas associated with mental health and substance abuse.

Newton Police Chief Rob Burdess said, “Last time we met we took some feedback from all of you in the room here and kind of sorted through that and looked at what really the purpose of our coalition is and the mission statement and the vision of both coalitions, and this seemed to fit pretty well.”

And, he added, the new name just rolls of the tongue.

During its August meeting, the Jasper County Cares Coalition will discuss its goals for the upcoming year.

In other action Tuesday, the coalition:

• Listened to an extensive presentation by Heather Smith, an outreach education and overdose prevention specialist in the HIV Special Projects Division at NuCara Pharmacy, about the intersection of HIV, Hepatitis C and substance abuse.

• Received an update from Jody Eaton, CEO of Central Iowa Community Services. Eaton said she received a proposal CICS will be considering next month to address some of the homeless issues Jasper County has. An announcement on that, she said, will be made in the near future.

• Received an update from Hannah McMunn, of Employee and Family Resources, regarding the SPF Rx Grant. She said, “We are coming to an end for this fiscal year. We’re off with the normal state. Our fiscal year ends Aug. 31 and then it restarts Sept. 1. So a lot of our projects are wrapping up for this year but they will continue next year.”

• Tabled a discussion item in which the group was to discuss its top goals. Over the past few months, the coalition has been coming up with specific goals to move forward with. McMunn said she noticed a lot of overlapping ideas between substance abuse and mental health. “Which is awesome,” she said. “Because that means we’re alone the same page and we all want to work toward the same goals.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 6560 or at cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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