Stepping up to the overdose epidemic
September 14, 2017 — Cabarrus County Government and Cabarrus Health Alliance recently hosted a County Leadership Forum on Opioid Abuse. Local elected leaders and other key partners discussed ways to address opioid abuse in the community.
The meeting included first responder staff and elected leaders from Concord, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Mt. Pleasant and Midland, Cardinal Innovations, Carolinas HealthCare System, Kannapolis and Cabarrus school boards, Rowan Cabarrus Community College, District Court Judges, Cabarrus County District Attorney’s Office and Daymark Recovery Services.
Cabarrus County EMS se most abusers get the drugs from an unknowing friend or relative.
The Cabarrus Health Alliance has instituted a syringe exchange program, which is one of the most effective ways to decrease the transmission rates of HIV and other blood-borne diseases. The program also connects hard-to-reach residents and puts them in touch with other services.
The City of Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek has instituted a naloxone administration program for law enforcement because they are often the first to arrive on an overdose call.
“Naloxone is easy to administer, and is saving not only the users life, but could aid in assistance to another first responder who has an accidental exposure,” said Gacek.
Despite the resources to combat opiate overuse, the crisis continues to grow. The Cabarrus Health Alliance challenged forum participants to come up with new ideas to overcome this strain on our community.
For 30 minutes, participants used their wide range of disciplines to brainstorm ideas that could make an impact on this complex issue.Some common concepts included more outreach and education to the public, diversion courts to address low-level drug crime and peer support.
“Collaboration is the biggest strength of Cabarrus,” said Steve Morris, Chair of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners. “We must continue to strengthen these partnerships in order to make systematic changes to the way we address opioid abuse and overuse.”
The Cabarrus County Leadership Forum on Opioid Abuse is part of a presidential Initiative established by the President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) and Davidson County Commissioner Fred McClure. Earlier this year, McClure called on all counties throughout the state to bring together local elected officials and other leaders for an informed discussion on ways to combat the opioid crisis. NCACC is supporting the effort by providing planning materials and technical assistance to enable each county to hold their own forum. The ideas shared at the forums will be available for public review at www.ncacc.org/opioidforum.
About the NCACC: The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.