The Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board (ADAMH) Board and the Highland County Commissioners gathered at the Highland County Sheriff’s Office in Hillsboro Wednesday to show their appreciation for those on the front lines of Ohio’s opiate epidemic.

With the message “Bringing Help. Bringing Hope. Thank You,” pizzas were delivered to first responders in appreciation to all of the individuals on the front lines who are working to eradicate opiates and help individuals coping with addiction recovery every day.

The Highland County Commissioners presented a resolution expressing their gratitude and appreciation to all community members working on the front lines in the fight against Ohio’s opioid epidemic. A resolution from Governor Kasich was read, as well as a certificate of recognition for all Highland County first responders from the Ohio Attorney General.

“We sponsored the Day of Appreciation because we see every day the difficulty and pain so many of our front-line fighters face as they work to help individuals in need,” Paint Valley ADAMH Board Executive Director Penny Dehner said. “The positive impact that recovery from addiction can have on individuals, families, job growth, community safety and overall economic development cannot be overstated.

“Treatment works and people recover, saving individuals and helping to open the door to recovery for those living in Highland County who need treatment services. Support is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. Our community will be stronger for it.”

In addition to the Day of Appreciation, the board wants to help first responders cope with the additional stress that comes with being on the front lines. Secondary traumatic stress is the emotional duress that results when an individual witnesses the firsthand trauma of others. Its symptoms mimic those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Paint Valley ADAMH will be providing a Secondary Trauma Symposium for first responders in its board region. The first will be held Wednesday, May 9 at the Ross County Service Center in Chillicothe, and the second will be held Wednesday, May 30 at Southern State Community College in Washington Court House. The attendees will learn coping skills and receive additional resources, including a self-care video from the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The Paint Valley ADAMH Board is a political subdivision of state government created in 1967 by the Ohio legislature to ensure the availability of community-based alcohol, drug addiction and mental health services for the residents of Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties.