Lee County will combine its super powers with the City of Sanford to co-host the 2018 Opioid Community Forum on April 5 (a Thursday) at 6 p.m. in the Lee County Cooperative Extension Office (near Southern Lee High School).

According to a county press release today, the forum — which will be held during National Public Health Week — will tackle the important topic of opioid addiction, now the leading public health problem in the U.S. Declared a public health emergency in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, opioid addiction and abuse claimed an average of 116 lives every day in the United States in 2016 and that number continues to grow.

“One of the difficulties with opioid addiction is that in many cases it develops from legal use of prescription pain medication,” said Ashley Graham, health education supervisor for the LCG Health Department. “These are essential medical tools that help patients manage both acute and chronic pain but when incorrectly used, mismanaged, overprescribed or abused they often lead to debilitating addiction, use of illegal narcotics and for some, death.”

THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC BY THE NUMBERS

The community forum will provide an opportunity for the general public to engage in dialogue with local government, community and business leaders on strategies for combatting the opioid epidemic.  The LCG Health Department will act as the lead agency for a local action plan and they have engaged Amy Bason, deputy director and general counsel with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners to act as the meeting facilitator for the community discussion.

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“Lee County has not escaped the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across our state and country,” said Lee County Manager John Crumpton. “We recognize that there are no easy answers but the broader community must be involved to help educate, develop solutions and provide assistance if we are to be successful in combatting opioid abuse and addiction.”

For additional questions on the 2018 Opioid Community Forum, please contact Ashley Graham with LCG Health Department at (919) 718-4640.

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