The dialogue at Tuesday’s meeting of the Coalition for Teens and Young Adults was encouraging. Many of those who attended the session at City Hall came away with the feeling that there might be a breakthrough in Madison’s battle against substance abuse and mental health issues among teens.

The meeting included a talk by Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde on work his city’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition has undertaken.

A lesson to be taken from Tuesday’s meeting is that it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel to move forward.

Mayor Damon Welch said that several months ago he attended the Southern Indiana Mayors’ roundtable meeting in Columbus and heard about the way city organizers had been working on their local drug issues.

Welch liked what he heard, and with other city officials and Ray Black, executive director of the Lide White Boys and Girls Club, invited Rohde to share Columbus’ success story with Madison.

Rhode suggested that even modest victories have a way of gaining momentum and great things can happen.

Now it’s up to our leaders — with strong community support — to maximize the effort.

Together, as the Mayor Welch said, we need to develop mentoring relationships, educational opportunities and community awareness events. Most importantly we need to get the many organizations with a common goal together to launch a major offensive.

Rohde told the audience that “if we can all get together and share some successes and some heartaches that maybe Columbus can learn a little bit from Madison and other areas, and maybe they can learn a little bit from us and collectively, within our regions, we can start to make a dent with this addiction issue.”

That’s an exciting and hopeful message.

Pooling our resources will help to provide the traction we need to advance the effort.

Providing our children with a drug-free environment and guidance when they need it is a key to creating the quality of life we desire.

The next Coalition for Teens and Young adults meeting will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at City Hall. That’s a meeting more people need to attend.