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Fighting the Opioid Epidemic: Residents invited to awareness and prevention forum

No parent thinks their child could fall victim to the national opioid epidemic. But local officials are calling it a serious public safety concern. In the past month alone, sheriff’s deputies in Montgomery County have saved the lives of two people in their 20s who had overdosed.

Officials believe prevention is better than a cure. That’s why they’ve teamed up to host a forum titled “Fighting the Opioid Epidemic” at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 23, in the Fonda-Fultonville High School auditorium. All parents, students and community members of school districts in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties are welcome and encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is not required.

Participants can expect to learn facts about opioid use and health impacts, prevention, the signs of opioid abuse, how to save a life and where to go for help.

The event will feature a panel discussion with local experts:

  • A representative of Upstate NY Poison Center, who will talk about components of opioids and their impacts on health.
  • Dr. Govind Rao of St. Mary’s Healthcare, who will share stories from anonymous youth who have struggled with addiction.
  • Montgomery County Emergency Management Services Director Jeffery Smith, who will talk about life-saving measures to help someone suffering from an overdose.
  • Sgt. Mike Lewis of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, who will talk about prevention training.
  • Young People in Recovery Chapter Leader DJ Rhodes, who will talk about his personal experiences with drug addiction and recovery.

The panel will be followed by a question and answer period. Participants will be able to anonymously ask for information from the panelists by submitting written questions that will be read by a moderator.

Representatives of the Montgomery County Public Health Department and the HFM Prevention Council will also be on site to share educational materials and information.