During Wednesday’s “Moving the Needle: Community Forum,” organizers announced a new name for the substance abuse initiative.
Under the acronym ASAP, the initiative will now be known as the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County.
ASAP is being organized through Healthy Communities, which is part of Columbus Regional Health, the local hospital system, and the Columbus Regional Health Foundation.
Jim Bickel, who leads Columbus’ hospital system, outlined the organizational strategy being formed as a response.
Bickel emphasized that the effort is not a Healthy Communities initiative or a Columbus Regional Health initiative, but rather one that needs to involve the entire community.
Bickel introduced Jeff Jones, a retired Cummins, Inc. executive, who is serving as executive lead for the initiative. Jones, who has an office in Columbus City Hall, will work with Bickel, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop and Bartholomew County Commissioner Carl Lienhoop to direct three action teams to work on the substanceabuse addiction epidemic.
A three-prong organizational structure for the initiative has been formed with Jones as executive lead, including:
- An action team on prevention will be led by Beth Morris, who leads Healthy Communities, who will work with employers, the educational system, social service organizations and mental health services.
- Bartholomew Circuit Judge Kelly Benjamin is leading the intervention action team, which has law enforcement, employers and the court system.
- Julie Abedian, Columbus Regional Health vice president for community partnerships and corporate responsibility, is leading the treatment and recovery action team, with health
stakeholders, behavioral health provider Centerstone, employers and others.