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​County Officials, Community Leaders Discuss Strategies to Help Fight the Opioid Epidemic


2018 Opioid SummitMore than 600 people packed a ballroom at the charlotte Convention Center Thursday looking for ways to combat the County’s growing opioid epidemic.

Mecklenburg County’s Substance Abuse Disorder Task Force partnered with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to host the 2018 Mecklenburg County Opioid Summit. View pictures

The event brought state and County leaders as well as community partners together to talk about the opioid crisis, addiction treatment, and criminal justice and community strategies.

Opioids are a class of prescription and illegal substances. Common opioids such as oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet and Hydrocodone are often prescribed by doctors to help patients manage pain following an accident, sports injury or oral surgery.

According to the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department, there were 121 opioid overdose deaths in 2016, that’s up from 61 in the previous year. The summit was an opportunity for community members to hear from state and County leaders as well as speakers who have been impacted by opioid addiction.

The Mecklenburg County Substance Use and Disorder task force plans to review the panel recommendations and begin investigating areas where they need or want to implement changes.

Connie Mele, assistant health director, clinic and nursing services said, “This is not something that one group can solve on its own, but it will take the community working together to help fight the epidemic.”