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Opioid Crisis Resolution Attorney General Cullman Regional Local Leaders

by | Oct 5, 2017 | 911, Alabama News, City, City News, County, County News, Crime, Cullman, Cullman City, EMS, Good Hope, Hanceville, Interviews, Politics, Public Safety, Videos

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was in Cullman for most of the day Wednesday.

He met with top officials at Cullman Regional, plus had an informal luncheon that included some elected officials, business leaders, and civic-minded citizen.

Marshal even took time to participate in a bible study class at a Cullman church early in the evening.

The purpose of Marshall’s visit was primarily to do discovery work into the opioid crisis ongoing throughout Cullman County.

The Attorney General discusses the purpose of his visit in great detail in this interview:

Cullman attorney Champ Crocker was the Attorney General’s local liaison during his time in Cullman. Crocker had these thoughts on the AG’s visit:

“I first met Steve when he was District Attorney of Marshall County. Steve believes in the rule of law and he isn’t afraid of hard work. He is a gifted, committed prosecutor who understands the nature of justice. I’m proud to call Steve Marshall Attorney General but I’m more proud to call him my friend.”

The most serious and profound portion of Marshall’s visit involved an hour-long meeting with top officials at Cullman Regional.

Attorney General Marshall along with Crocker sought input from Cullman Regional regarding the challenges faced in providing care for patients with either mental illness or with addiction issues, specifically addressing the challenges around the opioid-addiction crisis facing our community, state, and nation.

This opioid effort on the part of Marshall is a statewide endeavor on his part.

Cullman Regional’s hospital emergency department and ambulance service act as the front lines in providing treatment for patients who have addiction issues. These departments work to prevent any additional patients from becoming dependent on opiate or other narcotic pain medication.

This meeting allowed all parties to discuss the challenges currently facing the hospital attempting to treat patients with addiction adequately. They talked about obstacles such as adequate funding for treatment facilities, a lack of services capable of providing viable treatment options, and deterring the switch from opiates to heroin due to the lack of access to prescription drugs.

The conversation included the lack of funding for adequate mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities in Cullman County. These institutions are needed to provide suitable long-term solutions for current addicts as well as patient education to prevent further abuse.

Cullman County has no in-patient facility to care for these type patients; thus, the burden falls to Cullman Regional. The reality is however, the hospital is designed to provide physical medical care, not addiction management or mental health care.

As a result, it also became clear during the discussion that insurance companies and regulations have significantly impacted the supply chain for many addicts.

Many patients are not seeking much-needed rehabilitation. Instead, they are switching to illegal and unregulated heroin which could include any substance. This part of the opioid crisis is killing people and causing numerous numbers of overdoses in our community.

Cullman Regional Representatives on hand included:

• Nesha Donaldson, CFO
• Charna Brown, Chief Nursing Officer
• James Clements, CEO
• William Smith, MD, Chief Medical Officer
• Vince McVitte, VP of Physician Services
• Lindsey Dossey, Executive Director of Marketing & Community Outreach

Earlier in the day, Marshall met for an informal lunch at Johnny’s BBQ with such local leaders as:

• Chairman Kenneth Walker
• Representative Corey Harbison
• Commissioner Kerry Watson
• Mayor Jerry Bartlett
• County Attorney Chad Floyd
• Republican Party Chairman Waid Harbison

Also, attorneys from the Cullman County District Attorney’s Office – John Bryant, Jeff Roberts and Jeremy Kline – were also in attendance.

Marshal took input on the opioid crisis in Cullman from these people as well as other civic-minded citizens in attendance.

Waid Harbison had these thoughts after his time with the Attorney General:

“I am thrilled the Attorney General took time to visit Cullman to go deep on such an important topic as the opioid crisis we face.

 

From a political perspective, a visit such as this has been rare in the past. I think Cullman is becoming more popular and relevant to elected officials in the state and potential candidates for office. We are one of the most Republican counties in the state. We also place in the Top 10 in voter turnout even though we only rank around #20 in population size.

 

I think these folks see something special here and therefore, we are getting attention and visits that we would not have gotten in the past.

 

That is good for Cullman politically, but more importantly, we are influencing public policy on a statewide level statewide.”

Cullman County
Opioid Crisis Resolution Attorney General Cullman Regional Local Leaders

Timothy Collins

Originally from Asheville, NC, Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com and/or (256) 615-8260.

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