WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Like many cities across the country, North Carolina is wrangling to stretch available resources to prevent and treat people impacted by opioids.
The consequences of using these drugs can be deadly.
Between 1999 and 2016, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports there were more than 12,000 North Carolinians who died from opioid-related overdoses.
Congressman David Rouzer represents North Carolina’s 7th District which is comprised of nine counties including Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender. Like many areas of the state, the Cape Fear region has experienced high numbers of people whose lives have been impacted by opioid addiction.
“There’s a huge problem,” Rouzer said during an interview with WWAY. “It’s one of those problems akin to cancer, almost every family knows someone or has someone in the family who is dealing with it.”
For the last ten months, Rouzer’s staff has been working to organize a symposium bringing together experts from across the region who are serving on the frontline of this public health crisis. The meeting will allow them to share best practices or initiatives that are working in their communities that could be duplicated in other areas.
“About a year ago, I met with some family members that lost their children to drug overdose,” Rouzer said. “They stressed to me the need to bring awareness to this issue, the need to deal with the stigma issue and I told them I’d do everything I could to advance that cause.”
Rouzer’s office has invited a number of people to take part.
“We’ve got a great set of panelists – Jon David, Ben David, our district attorneys here in the 7th congressional district here along the coast have been very helpful with this and part of the steering committee, various sheriffs, Kenny House at Coastal Horizons and Port City Church,” Rouzer said.
Depending on the success of the symposium, Rouzer said his office may hold another series of meetings focusing on best practices in each county throughout his congressional district.
The 7th District Opioids Symposium will be held Monday, July 30, from 6-8 p.m. at the Coastline Convention Center located on 501 Nutt Street in downtown Wilmington. Space is limited you should RSVP here. The symposium will also be streamed live via Congressman Rouzer’s Facebook and Youtube pages.
For residents in the northern part of the 7th District who are unable to attend the event in Wilmington, there will be a simulcast of the Symposium at the Maxwell Regional Agriculture and Convention Center located at 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive in Goldsboro.