Davidson County addresses the growing problem of opioid-related overdoses

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. – Larry James, the director Davidson County Emergency Services, says opioid-related overdoses are a growing problem in the county.

“We're seeing this happen in people's vehicles in parking lots,” James said. “We're seeing this in convenience store restrooms.”

"It's not just one area we're seeing this in,” he said. “It's all over the county."

On average, the county's 911 center gets one call a day about an opioid-related overdose where Narcan had to be distributed, according to James. Narcan is medicine which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

"It's difficult to keep seeing this and keep seeing it with young people," James said.

James says the number of overdose calls where Narcan was given has gone up 20 percent in Davidson County from April 2016 to April 2017. He says it’s gone up 60 percent from 2015.

"We're hearing from hospitals, we're hearing from law enforcement," said Lillian Koontz, health director for the Davidson County Health Department.

Koontz is helping organize a county-wide summit in May where different agencies will brainstorm ideas about solving the epidemic.

"What is working? What isn't working? What the needs are,” Koontz said.

Schools, hospitals, elected officials and community leaders in Davidson County will split up in groups and work on ways to deal with opioid abuse treatment but also prevention.

“We get them at their worst moment when they have overdosed,” James said. “Some of these other agencies can help them prior to them ever getting to that point.”

The meeting will place on May 5th at 12pm at Davidson County Community College.

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