A panel on opioid addiction was held in Woodbridge last week.
Hosted by the Community Healthcare Coalition of Greater Prince William, “Opioid Epidemic: Let’s Talk About It” was a chance for the community, law enforcement, and medical professionals to come together to speak about growing opioid addiction – nationally and locally.
State Health Commissioner Marissa Levine kicked off the panel by speaking about the importance of getting treatment for those addicted to opioids.
“We clearly have legal issues around illicit drugs – no question. But the people who are addicted…we’re not doing anybody a service by not dealing with the addiction, and getting them into treatment,” said Levine.
According to Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee, firefighters and medics are responding to an increasing number of drug overdose related calls in Prince William.
“We are seeing an escalation in the number of incidents we’re responding to…[the chart on the rise of opioid incidents in Virginia] is consistent with what we’re seeing…anecdotally it seems to us that trend is continuing on that upward spiral,” said McGee.
Panelists fielded questions about opioid abuse, and gave their perspective on the situation.
“On one end we have cartels that are trying to traffic the heroin and other drugs into the country, and let’s not forget about all of the other drugs that are coming from outside of this country – to include cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs…what we’re doing one, is trying to go out and educate our state and local partners on how to respond to seizures, how to respond to the overdose,” said panelist Jeffrey Thornberg.
Another panelist spoke about how to properly store and dispose of medications.
“People are going into homes that are for sale…to look in the medicine cabinets and see what’s in there, and steal the medication,” said the panelist.