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Forum to discuss opioid crisis

Star - 6/12/2019

Jun. 12--More than 115 opioids are prescribed to every 100 people in Cleveland County, according to the Cleveland County Public Health Center.

If this number shocks anyone, they should know that number has gone down since 2012, when more than 159 per 100 people were being prescribed.

The current rate is nearly double the state average.

"While our prescribing rate has consistently decreased since 2012, it remains significantly higher than the state rate. We are making positive progress, but there is still work to be done," said Coordinator of Health Services and Public Information Officer for the Cleveland County Public Health Center DeShay Oliver.

To help educate the public more on the impact of opioids in the county, the Health Center is holding a community forum to have a frank discussion on this growing public health epidemic.

The forum will also talk about how heroin is becoming a growing problem.

"The success we have had as both a state and county in decreasing our opioid prescribing rate contributes to the problem of heroin and synthetic opioid use. As prescription opioids become more difficult to access, people who have already developed a substance use disorder often turn to illicit opioids," Oliver said.

Community members will hear from not only health professionals but individuals who are battling addiction and families who have loved ones lost to it, Oliver said.

Oliver hopes this forum will allow people, whether they suffer from addiction or knows someone who is, get the help they need and also educate people more about the impact of these controlled substances in the community.

The event is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Public Health Center, 200 S. Post Road, Shelby. There will be light refreshments.

People can register for the free event before by calling 980-484-5335 or by email, jamie.todd@clevelandcounty.com or they can register at the door.

Joyce Orlando can be reached at 704-669-3341 or find her on Twitter @Star_J_Orlando.

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