Leading the discussion...

Greg Puckett addressed a meeting of health professionals and concerned community leaders about the challenges facing the area in combatting drug abuse in this 2016 file photo.

Mr. Puckett will be heading to Washington to present a seminar on how to engage local officials regarding drug abuse

WASHINGTON D.C. —Learning how to work with local governments when addressing the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic is part of a program a Mercer County commissioner is offering during a nationwide conference.

The National CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America) is hosting a conference in Washington D.C. for coalitions that are working to learn more about cooperating with local governments. County Commissioner Greg Puckett is presenting a seminar Thursday titled “Obligation to Lead: Involving Your Local Elected Officials Within Your Coalition efforts.

“Oftentimes, community coalitions are unable to engage with all of the sectors. One of the most elusive is typically your locally elected officials,” Puckett said in a description of his seminar. “As a county commissioner, I would like to showcase that it is not only an opportunity to lead the discussion, but an obligation. County commissioners are at the front of all local issues and should be engaged in increasing awareness of substance use disorders. From prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery, local elected officials can be your toughest challenge, or your best friend. Find out ways to engage with your local elected officials.”

The seminar’s objectives includes helping participants understand how to a local coalition can engage its locally elected officials and “embrace the political dynamics to effect change,” he said.

One way to work with elected officials is to help them understand the local data and local conditions surrounding a county’s drug problem, Puckett said.

Puckett, who is also a member of the National Association of Counties, helped develop the “tool kit” that’s being shared with coalitions at the conference.

Puckett will present his seminar on Thursday.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com