ASAP forum focus is saving lives

Published 9:49 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

Next week, the Clark County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (ASAP) will host a community forum focused on public health, fighting the local drug epidemic and preventing opioid overdoses.

This forum is the third in a series over the past couple of years focused primarily on the heroin epidemic. The first forum happened in July 2016 and drew a crowd of more than 80 people.

ASAP’s next forum will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Clark County Homeless Coalition.

These forums don’t just educate the community about the growing drug problem, they also provide information about issues like exposure to used needles and the spread of diseases from injecting with dirty syringes.

The forums also address how to recognize and respond to an overdose.

With an ever-increasing national drug problem, it is important that communities take the issue of fighting this epidemic into their own hands. We have to start at home. To best reach our friends, neighbors and loved ones who are affected by substance abuse, we have to gather as a community to educate ourselves on the problem and discuss possible solutions.

When it comes to dealing with people who struggle with substance abuse or addiction, our primary goals should be saving lives. Educating the public on how to use Narcan, which is essentially an opioid overdose antidote, is a logical and important first step.

By saving someone from an overdose, we are able to improve the odds of that individual seeking help and getting clean.

Narcan is available in our schools, at our hospitals and medical care clinics. It is carried by our emergency responders and now it is available in our own medicine cabinets.

Our hope is no one in our community would ever need to use Narcan, but we know some will. Thankfully, groups like ASAP are working to make sure the medicine in administered properly in such a case.

Most importantly, we are thankful for the dedicated group of people who have made it their mission to address to issues of substance abuse and addiction in our community.

These forums gather the general public with law enforcement, healthcare professionals, recovering addicts, social workers and the faith community, among others, to discuss how we can all work together to protect our loved ones and improve the outlook for the many people struggling with addiction in our community.

Substance abuse has likely affected every person in Winchester and Clark County in one way or another. If it hasn’t yet, it likely someday will.

We encourage you to become involved in this effort to solve this problem and save lives. The first step is attending this upcoming forum and educating yourself.