Opioid abuse and addiction has been a frequent topic across the country, and in Virginia.
The Community Healthcare Coalition of Greater Prince William is hosting a forum called “Opioid Epidemic: Let’s Talk About It” on June 8 at Forest Park High School at 15721 Forest Park Drive, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
According to a release, local opioid abuse and fatalities are increasing at an alarming rate throughout Virginia.
“These potentially addictive drugs include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, as well as dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl,” stated a release.
State Health Commissioner Marissa Levine, as well as members of law enforcement, fire and rescue, and professionals in the court system, public health, the FBI and the DEA will have a panel discussion following a video presentation.
“In November 2016, Dr. Levine declared the Virginia opioid crisis a public health emergency. The declaration came in response to the growing number of overdoses attributed to opioid abuse, and evidence that Carfentanil, a highly dangerous synthetic opioid used to sedate large animals such as elephants, has made its way into Virginia,” stated a release.
In the Greater Prince William County area, deaths due to opioid overdoses rose from 29 in 2013 to 56 in 2016, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
“I invite all concerned residents to attend this event. Opioid addiction affects all sectors of society, rural and urban, rich and poor, young and old. I’m convinced that communities that work together will grow stronger in the process and connect in ways that will protect health and promote well-being for all,” stated Levine in a release.
The summit will offer information from local community experts and will include a showing of “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opioid Addict.” This documentary released last year by the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was largely filmed in the Greater Prince William Area. It provides explicit, first-person accounts of people who have either abused opioids or whose children have abused opioids with tragic consequences. The video’s title refers to the cycle of addiction and users’ pursuit of the so-called “ultimate” high.
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