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The Black Mountain Counseling Center will be hosting a public forum on the crisis of opioid addiction at the Lakeview Senior Center from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21.

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.

Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.

In 2017 , the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services declared a public health emergency and announced a 5 point strategy to combat the opioid crisis. 

At a public forum on the opioid crisis in Asheville in May of this year, it was revealed that deaths from drug overdoses in North Carolina surpassed deaths from motor vehicles accidents for the first time in 2010.

Emergency room visits and hospitalizations related to opioid overdoses have doubled since 2009.

The foster care system in N.C. has become inundated with children who are removed from their parents’ home because of substance abuse problems, with drug abuse listed as a factor in nearly half of all out-of-home placements in 2016.

The opioid crisis has hit the Appalachian mountain region particularly hard, with overdose death rates at more than 50 percent higher than the rest of the country. 

Presenters will be Jerry Bryson and Joe Wilkerson, both certified addiction counselors.  There will be light refreshments and a question and answer time during the program. 

“Much attention is being given to the Opioid Crisis. On a positive note the opioid epidemic is opening up the conversation about addiction in a way we have not seen in recent years, according to Bryson. "Approximately one out of four persons taking opiates long term will develop a dependency and many will progress to a full- blown addiction. 

"There are still many myths and misunderstandings about addiction and opioid us," he continued. "We will be discussing: what is addiction, why do some become addicted to drugs and others not, why is opioid addiction a disease, what can we do as individuals, families and as a community to help those who are affected by addiction and  opioid dependency, how is opioid dependency affecting Black Mountain and the Swannanoa Valley.”

For more information call the Black Mountain Counseling Center at 669-9798.  Black Mountain United Methodist Church is the underwriter for the program.

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