Conference scheduled to address addiction

The nationwide opioid crisis is having a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities, especially those living in rural areas. In 2018 there were 45 reported cases of an opioid overdose within Patrick County, Henry County and the city of Martinsville. Of those, eight overdose incidents were fatal. In response to this ongoing problem, the Patrick County Extension Office has scheduled an Addressing Addiction Conference to be held on Friday, June 14. This one-day conference will provide a wealth of information and resources covering both addiction and recovery from opioids and other addictive substances.

The Addressing Addiction Conference will feature three speakers. Alex Elswick, an Extension Specialist for Substance Use Prevention and Recovery with the University of Kentucky will speak about addiction and recovery, as he is a person in long term recovery from the chronic disease of addiction; Patrick County Sheriff’s Lt. Eric O’Connell will speak on the narcotic crisis in rural Virginia; and Dr. Kerry Gateley, Health Director of the West Piedmont Health District, will focus on overdoses and naloxone. All three speakers will take part in a round-table discussion before breaking for lunch.

After lunch, afternoon break-out sessions will be held. Sessions will include the dangers of vaping, a resource locator to assist those needing help with addiction, a session on adverse childhood experiences and how that affects addictive behavior and a simulation called “Hidden in Plain Sight.” This interactive simulated teenage bedroom will help parents and caregivers identify everyday items that can signal dangerous behavior in teens.

Conference participants will also have the opportunity to take part in optional REVIVE! training at the conference. REVIVE! is the Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education program for the Commonwealth of Virginia. REVIVE! provides training on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone (Narcan™). Naloxone is a proven public health response to the epidemic of opioid overdose emergencies.

This training covers understanding opioids, how opioid overdoses happen, risk factors for opioid overdoses, and how to respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of Naloxone.

The Patrick County Opioid Conference will be held at the Virginia Motorsports Museum, located at the Stuart campus of Patrick Henry Community College. The fee to attend this conference is $15 per person, which includes a catered lunch. Pre-registration is required. No tickets will be sold at the door. Seating is limited to the first 150 registrants. Those interested can contact the Patrick County Extension Office to register by calling (276) 694-3341.

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