In September 2019, a small group of faculty and staff from Ball State University College of Health began discussing the role of the university in addressing addiction in the Delaware County community. They began by holding a ‘townhall’ in March 2020 where community members came together with Ball State faculty, staff, and students to hear from state and local leaders on ways to move the needle on addiction. This coming together of stakeholders continued and was formalized in July 2020 when the Addictions Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) was launched. It represents a strategic community-academic partnership between Delaware County and Ball State University, with a mission to increase the harm-reduction, prevention, and treatment capacities in Delaware County. Dr. Jean Marie Place from the Department of Nutrition and Health Science and one of the ACDC co-founders talked about the importance of unifying the effort to address addiction in the region. The coalition is comprised of over 200 active community and academic partners.
Dr. Dane Minnick from the Department of Social Work is working with over 25 students in the “S3,” or the student arm of the ACDC. The group is looking forward to developing a safe-ride program and hosting community clean-ups. Other students are involved in the ACDC-sponsored planning group on safe syringe access. Students and Social Work faculty are also working to assess the climate of drug use on campus and design a prevention campaign, funded through a FSSA grant and led by Dr. Greta Slater.
One successful project of the ACDC has been the Ball State University’s first-ever Drug Take Back Day on campus where they filled two 50-gallon bags full of unused prescription drugs. It was a noteworthy collaboration between the ACDC, the university police, and the Delaware County Prevention Council.
Finally, community members should look forward to the start of a Recovery Café in Delaware County. Recovery Café Muncie a peer-led love-based community to support all people in their recovery from any one of a variety of life challenges, including substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, trauma/loss, and co-dependency. Dr. Jonel Thaller has been co-leading this effort with a dedicated group of community members and is excited to see this effort come to fruition. The Café’s first face-to-face Recovery Circles will begin meeting this Spring at the Avondale United Methodist Church in the Avondale/Thomas Park neighborhood.
The ACDC, to date, has sponsored two annual conferences on substance use disorder for Delaware County professionals and public and is looking forward to a strong future going forward. College of Health Alumni can become key partners in our pursuit to address substance use in Delaware County. Visit our website for more information.