Sunny View Clubhouse hosts meeting on opioid settlement planning

Published 11:14 am Friday, May 17, 2024

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Polk County Opioid Settlement Planner Yanet Cisneros speaks at the Sunny View Clubhouse on strategies to spend the county’s $3 million from the national opioid litigation. (Photo by Storme Smith)

SUNNY VIEW—On Thursday evening, the Sunny View Clubhouse hosted the first of several meetings around the county focusing on determining the best strategies for spending the funds from the national opioid litigation.

The meeting was led by Yanet Cisneros, Polk County’s Opioid Settlement Planner. It outlined the various ways the opioid crisis has affected the state and gave the public an opportunity to share input on how best to spend the funds in and around Polk County. This national opioid litigation payout for Polk County is roughly $3 million, which will be distributed over 18 years.

“The purpose of these meetings is to develop recommendations for needed change, and so we can collaborate on specific strategies to best benefit the area,” Cisneros said.

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Cisneros reviewed the various options. Some are high-impact and do not require specific planning activities at a local level, while others must be formally drafted and presented to the planning committee. Some of the high-impact programs mentioned were recovery support services, Naloxone distribution, addiction treatment for incarcerated individuals, and early intervention. Programs that would need more in-depth planning and approval dealt with connections to care, addressing the needs of parents, and support for people in recovery.

After Cisneros spoke, Tiffany Cavender of Sunny View gave a passionate talk about her own past issues with substance abuse and her recovery. Cavender highlighted the specific needs for rural areas like Sunny View, which she said are often overlooked by the rest of the community and frequently deal more with substance abuse issues. She advocated for more activities and opportunities for the children in Sunny View to prevent idleness that can lead to drug use, as well as the importance of employment for those in recovery to avoid relapses.

The attendees also participated in a roundtable discussion, during which the specific needs of the Sunny View community were highlighted and how it differs from other areas in Polk County. They also chose four strategies from the many options they felt would best impact their immediate community.

“We’ve got several other meetings scheduled throughout the community,” Cisneros added. “And while we have a long way to go with this process, we will get there.”

The public is invited to attend upcoming meetings, which are set for Tuesday, May 21, at The Congregational Church, UCC in Tryon; Tuesday, May 28, at Wheat Creek Baptist Church in the Pea Ridge area; Tuesday, June 4, at Saluda United Methodist Church and Tuesday, June 11, at WithALL, in Columbus.