Waxahachie and Ellis County joined more than 60 concerned citizens at the Ellis County Opioid and Heroin Town Hall held on Tuesday, June 12, at the Waxahachie Civic Center to discuss strategies for preventing the national epidemic from taking hold in Ellis County.

Chris York, CEO of Baylor, Scott and White Medical Center — Waxahachie, told the group that the Waxahachie hospital has implemented a multi-modal approach to treating pain, including using fewer narcotics, tracking monthly prescriptions and educating the medical staff about preventing addiction.

York emphasized that behavioral health and addiction treatment is currently the most significant health care need in Ellis County. The hospital is exploring opportunities to partner with a behavioral health provider to provide treatment.

Other speakers, panelists, and community leaders included Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength, Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby; Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge, Tommy Hale, DEA; Alan Rogers, Recovery Pastor at The Avenue Church; and Janis Burdett, the Ellis County representative on the board of the North Texas Behavioral Health Authority (NTBHA). NTBHA is a federally funded entity that helps people access treatment in a six-county region in North Texas.

“It was great to see our mission come to life during the Town Hall,” said Becky Vance, CEO, Drug Prevention Resources, which oversees IMPACT Waxahachie. “We believe that by collaborating with all sectors of the community, and through innovation, education, and advocacy, we can create a drug-free generation. After all, addiction is 100 percent preventable.”