Statewide opioid forum comes to Asheville on May 8

Press release from the North Carolina Community Action Association:

It is no secret that the opioid pandemic has hit our state like a sledge hammer. This pandemic knows no cultural, racial or socio-economic boundaries. In fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports a 24% increase in opioid overdose deaths in North Carolina. National Prevention Week is dedicated to increasing public awareness of and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders in May. The N.C. Community Action Association (NCCAA) will kick-off its Statewide Opioid Forum, Tuesday, May 8, 2018 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Asheville, NC. Lunch will be provided; however, seating is limited. Register today! Visit (click under the Opioid Forum tab).

This day-long event will address North Carolina’s battle with opioid addiction, as well as prevention, education and possible solutions to reduce or eliminate our state’s opioid epidemic. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Blake Fagan, Chief Education Officer of Mountain Area Health Education Center.

Also, in partnership with Public Media North Carolina’s UNC-TV, we will feature their documentary film “A Crisis: North Carolina’s Opioid Battle,” followed by a panel discussion with Chief Hollingsed of the Waynesville Police Department; Jan Shepard, Public Health Director with the Buncombe County Health and Human Services Department of Health; Anne Seaman, a vocal advocate for evidence-based medical treatments for opioid dependence; Natasha Penland, CSAC-I, a Family Mentor with the Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team (START) of Buncombe County; Jesse Smathers, MSW, LCSW-A, LCAS-A Specialty Populations Clinical Director of Vaya Health; and Barry Hendren, Assistant Fire Chief of the Asheville Fire Department. The panel discussion will be moderated by Sonya Greck, MSN, RN, Senior Vice President of Behavioral Health, Safety Net, Community Investment & Facilities with Mission Health.

North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan for 2017-2021 indicates that from 1999 to 2016, more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses. It further states how this epidemic is devastating families and communities, overwhelming medical providers, straining prevention and treatment efforts.

Community and nonprofit leaders, healthcare providers, law enforcement officials, educators, people in recovery, elected officials and concerned citizens are encouraged to join us in a conversation on identifying solutions to end this widespread problem in communities from Manteo to Murphy.

Additionally, a community-wide resource fair that is free to the public will take place from 2 p.m.–4 p.m. and will include service providers who partner in reduction and treatment efforts. Interested community service providers should register at or contact the NCCAA office if interested in representing their organization as a community resource during the resource fair. There is no charge for service providers.

The North Carolina Community Action Association is a statewide nonpartisan association that works to empower agencies to help communities thrive. Email or call 919-790-5757 for more information.

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