Panelists discuss ways to prevent drug addiction in Eastern Kentucky

Published: Oct. 6, 2016 at 7:13 PM EDT
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A group of panelists came together at the UK Center for Rural Health in Hazard on Thursday to talk about how to curb the problem of drug abuse in Eastern Kentucky.

Congressman Hal Rogers and Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institution on Drug Abuse, were just a few of those who participated in the discussion on drug abuse.

While many different drugs are creating problems, they say opioids are currently the biggest issue in our region.

In the United States more people are dying from drug overdoses than car accidents.

Panelists discussed multiple ways to combat the issue, including lifesaving drugs such as Narcan, which is a drug that reverses the effects of opioids.

However, they believe rehabilitation and counseling is one of the best ways to prevent abuse and multiple overdoses.

"Once you have an overdose, what we as physicians can say, is that you're at a much higher risk of overdosing again," said Volkow. "So if you do not do an intervention to protect that from happening, that person will overdose again."

Debby Terry, a local woman that struggled with drug abuse for 30 years, was also on the panel.

She says it makes her happy to see people coming together to find a solution for those struggling with addiction.

"I tell my clients you're not alone, there are open doors everywhere," said Terry. "You just got to be willing to step in and you've got to be willing to be honest and say hey I'm in trouble, I'm an addict."

Terry now helps others struggling with drug abuse.

She is the Lead Peer Support Specialist at Kentucky River Community Care.

She hopes to participate in more panel discussions and share her story with others.