Project Bald Eagle to lead regional alliance

This month, Project Bald Eagle reveals exciting new developments affecting both Lycoming County and the greater northcentral Pennsylvania region.

Since 2013, interested and concerned people have come together to discuss the crisis of opiate and heroin use and how it is affecting our community. Initially, the conversation began with the Heroin Task Force.

President Judge Nancy Butts and West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission Executive Director Shea Madden hosted informational and educational meetings for the community to “get the conversation started” within the county as a whole to increase awareness of how the use of heroin is changing the county as we know it.

We all acknowledged that the opiate epidemic was a complex issue involving the medical and law enforcement communities but we also discovered it was challenging both our local approaches to community health and long-term attitudes toward addicted persons.

In addition, informational presentations in the form of town hall meetings were hosted covering specific topics to educate the public on the issues created by drug use and about the local resources available to those in need. However, in late October 2014, discussion began on how to create a formal coalition, and that is when Project Bald Eagle was born.

In 2015, Project Bald Eagle, chaired by Davie Jane Gilmour, emerged as a non-profit organization to lead a coalition of local citizens to stem the tide of the heroin/opioid epidemic in Lycoming County. During 2015-17, both of the executive directors worked diligently to enhance what had already started, as well as to build support among all sectors of the local community and other surrounding counties to work together to combat the epidemic.

Beginning this year, Project Bald Eagle will lead a regional opioid coalition alliance within the northcentral and northeast Pennsylvania region to help coordinate communities on a larger scale to reduce the economic burden the heroin/opioid epidemic has placed on both the public and private sectors.

Each local coalition in the individual alliance county will continue to address the epidemic as needs warrant. Alliance counties will have their own unique needs, which will be better served by those local citizens and programs willing to assist.

However, being part of this new regional coalition membership will allow for a comprehensive perspective to either reduce or eliminate the need to duplicate efforts and be able to measure the effects of change on a larger scale.

To that end, the original Project Bald Eagle Board has voted to reorganize into a new regional board that will seek representation from all of the member counties. The regional organization will seek a new executive director.

These are exciting times in the war on heroin/opioid addiction. We believe that this new regional organization, in promoting collaboration across county lines, will create new solutions to address the complex needs to combat the heroin/opioid epidemic.

If you have any questions about the transition, or if you are interested in the executive director position, send an email to info@projectbaldeagle.com.

The mission statement of Project Bald Eagle: A 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is leading coalition efforts to stem the tide of the heroin epidemic through education, prevention, treatment, enforcement and data monitoring.

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