Addiction recovery groups discuss fighting substance abuse at Drug Summit

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 4:47 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Addiction recovery specialists are faced with a new monster, fentanyl, which they say was responsible for 73% of drug overdose deaths last year.

Groups came together in response for a Drug Summit in Harlan, where hours of education with moments of emotional pleas took the stage.

The long, hard-fought war has gotten tougher recently since the introduction of fentanyl, a drug the CDC says is 10 times more potent than heroin and could be anywhere.

“Fentanyl has also been found in cocaine. It’s been found in methamphetamine. Fentanyl’s everywhere, and it doesn’t take much to take a life,” Van Ingram, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director, said.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four

That is the main reason each group gathered for the summit. They tasked themselves with finding a permanent solution.

“It’s not something that you can implement this year in a school or in a community with a program, and see immediate results. It is long term,” Operation Unite President Nancy Hale said.

Many organizations are aligned ready to fight it, and in many different ways, like the Kentucky State Police Angel Initiative.

“Whether it’s addiction or about battling substance abuse, they can walk in and at that point we will do a small screening on them, and to try to locate them into a treatment facility to assist them,” Kentucky State Police Post 10 Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs said.

Art therapy is a different solution that calms your mind.

“If you’ve ever had a moment where you go round and round with intrusive thoughts and they just won’t get out of your head, it’s because you cannot stop thinking about them and you need to something that brings you back to the present,” Land Of Liv Owner Olivia Petty-Taylor said.

State government offices are also planning a campaign.

“Later this year, we’re gonna do a fentanyl awareness campaign, because a lot of people don’t know that the pill they buy on the street might just contain fentanyl,” Van Ingram said.

Addiction recovery specialists plan to put an emphasis on educating teenagers so they can start the fight early.