STANTON, Ky. (WKYT) – The Powell County Health Department is tackling the opioid crisis. It held a community forum Tuesday night to talk about addiction prevention and treatment.
Powell County community forum about the opioid crisis
“People know it’s a problem but it’s something people don’t want to talk about it I think,” says Stacy Crase from the health department. “It affects every family here in some form or fashion.”
Officials say it’s a widespread problem hitting the bluegrass state hard. The CDC’s most recent data shows that in 2017, Kentucky was one of the five deadliest states for drug overdoses.
Dr. Taufik Kassis from Community Family Clinic in Stanton says, “Addiction doesn’t differentiate between social or economic situations.”
Dr. Kassis is a primary care physician and addiction treatment specialist in Powell County. “The primary care physician is always the first line defense in treating any disease. Addiction is an epidemic. It is a disease. It is a brain disease.”
He says the first step to help the community is breaking the stigma of addiction.
“No patient, nobody wants to be an addict. They don’t enjoy their lives. It’s a very complex brain disease,” Dr. Kassis explains.
Now, as people there learn more about addiction, they’re hoping to stop the problem and save the younger generation.
Reva Wasson says it’s all about creating better lives for her
grandchildren. “I want them to not have to grow up with opioids and all these drugs around them.”
Officials say the forum is part of a bigger effort to get a grant from the Department for Public Health.