After listening to concerns from area businesses about the growing number of people not able to pass drug screenings for employment, the board of the Darke County Chamber of Commerce took the lead and formed the Drugs in Darke County Initiative. On September 25, 2014, fifty-nine community stakeholders including area business members, community leaders, law enforcement, school officials, judges, healthcare providers and churches participated in a strategic planning meeting to create a comprehensive strategic plan to combat substance abuse in the county.
While working through the strategic process, it became clear to community leaders that drug abuse is not just a law enforcement issue but a health issue encompassing physical health, mental and behavioral health and spiritual health. Community leaders voted to change the organization's name to the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County (Coalition) to include a broader range of health issues.
The Darke County Chamber Board of Directors voted to formalize the Coalition by establishing a Board of Directors. As with other organizations that the Chamber helped to organize, the current Darke County Chamber officers became the first officers of the Coalition Board during an organizational meeting on September 16, 2015. The Coalition received its IRS 501 (c)(3) designation on January 29, 2016.
An invitation will be extended to the citizens of Darke County to attend community outreach events in 2016 and 2017.