From left, Art Gibson, Larry Pate, Debbie Tittle and Christy Smith are working together to host an Addiction Connection Service on July 31. Those struggling with addiction, their family members and friends are encouraged to attend. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

A group of caring citizens is attempting to create a network to support those who are battling the disease of addiction in Unicoi County.

“My biggest goal overall is to have a recovery group meeting in Unicoi County every night,” Unicoi County Prevention Coalition Director Christy Smith said. “We are working on a resource book for Unicoi County. The more options we have the more people we can reach.”

According to Smith, Unicoi County Prevention Coalition works with several programs in the community.

“We currently work with Clinchfield Drug, Roller Pharmacy, Neighborhood Service Center, CHIPS, McKinney Insurance, Frontier Health and Urgent Care to educate the public about medication security through the Count It, Lock It, Drop It program,” Smith said.

The prevention coalition also works with Unicoi County Schools to educate students on everything from substance abuse to treating anxiety and depression.

Unicoi County Prevention Coalition Government Liason Debbie Tittle sees working with area churches as a valuable resource for the organization.

“I love reaching out to the area churches for support because I know that the true cure for addiction is through God,” Tittle said. “We are hoping doors are going to open, and people can feel comfortable to seek help.”

Tittle and Smith are working with Larry Pate of The Landmarks and Fishery Community Church minister Art Gibson to host an Addiction Connection Service.

The first Addiction Connection Service Meeting is open to the public and will take place Wednesday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m. at Fishery Community Church Fellowship Hall. Addicts, family members and friends are encouraged to attend. There will be food, fellowship and resources. “This event is come as you are; it’s very informal,” Tittle said.”There is a huge parking lot, and a good meal with desserts; it’s a good way to initiate great relationships.”

During the July 31 event, there will be testimonies from Megan Millenbach Bryant and Art Gibson. Music will be provided by Pate of The Landmarks.

For those who do not have transportation, there will be free transportation provided by calling 361-4579.

If you are interested in volunteering or seeking help, please contact the Unicoi County Prevention Coalition.

The coalition, which is located at the corner of Rock Creek Road and North Main Avenue, offers a Drug Addicts Anonymous (DAA) support group that meets Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, including updates to upcoming events, please follow Unicoi County Prevention Coalition on Facebook. To keep up with Fishery Community Church, including its drive-in service, follow them on Facebook.

If you are interested in helping the coalition, Amazon Smile provides an opportunity to shop online with proceeds going to the Unicoi County Prevention Coalition. Simply sign in to Amazon Smile, shop and enter Unicoi County Prevention Coalition as the selected charity at checkout.