Plumer stepping down from substance abuse post

By MARISSA DECHANT – Staff writer

Venango County substance abuse director Marie Plumer will be leaving her position to take on the role as executive director of Turning Point Treatment Center in Franklin later this month.

The announcement was made at the county’s Drug Overdose Task Force meeting Friday.

Plumer will assume her new role on Feb. 26, and she said there is not yet a replacement for her at the county.

Task force meetings will continue, but they will be held at Turning Point rather than at the human services complex, Plumer said.

“This group has been near and dear to our hearts, and it will not be going away. I think we can still continue to do good things,” said Plumer.

Plumer explained that direct work and assessments will continue to take place within the substance abuse program after she departs.

She said changes are coming to drug and alcohol programs in regards to how individuals are assessed, which both the county and local rehabilitation centers will experience.

“Big shifts are coming to the drug and alcohol system, but in a very positive way,” she said.

By July 1, the county will make a switch in its assessment criteria, from the Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

The new system is evidence-based, Plumer said, and dictates the level of care needed with mental health and other existing factors in mind.

Coroner report

Venango County Coroner Christina Rugh addressed an issue Friday that was brought up following a presentation by OverdoseFreePA last month at the University of Pittsburgh.

The organization has been collecting data from counties throughout the state in order to track drug and alcohol overdoses that can then be shared publicly and utilized by emergency personnel.

Rugh did not send Venango County data to OverdoseFreePA, explaining that her annual overdose death report numbers are available to the public on the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association website.

Rugh, who described herself as a staff of one, said multiple third party groups like OverdoseFreePA have requested statistics from her, and she said they are welcome to view the online reports for their purposes.

Naloxone distribution event

Turning Point will host a Naloxone information and distribution event from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 21.

The event is being made possible due to a grant received by the Venango County substance abuse office for intranasal Naloxone kits to be distributed to first responders.

The responders who will have access to the kits include emergency medical services, law enforcement, campus police, schools, probation officers, corrections facilities, public transit drivers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, the public defender’s office and treatment providers.

Each person who attends and completes training will be given one Naloxone kit containing two 4 mg. doses. First responders will be able to receive new kits through the county substance abuse office in Franklin.