Local opioid task force seeks help from family members of addicts

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- It's been four years and for Bob Young, the pain of losing his son Rob to a heroin overdose is still fresh.

“I went in and I found him laying on the floor in the bathroom,” Young said. “There was evidence that he had been using.”

“I was crushed,” he said. “He was such a smart young man.”

His son got hooked on opioids after a snowboarding accident.

“He had nine dislocations and four surgeries in a three-and-a-half-year period,” Young said.

But the pain medication quickly turned into a bad habit.

“It starts out with the pills, then it's harder to get the pills, then the heroin becomes an option,” he said.

It's experiences like Young's that Forsyth County EMS officials want to learn from.

They're inviting family members of addicts to join their opioid task force which started in March.

"Really learn from their experiences,” said Tara Tucker, quality manager coordinator for Forsyth County EMS. “We want to get some first-hand knowledge."

Tucker says more than 100 people are already on the force from EMS to police and school officials.

But she says this year, they want those who've seen addiction up close.

"What direction do we need to go?” she asked. “And, part of that is the families driving that."

The task force is also reaching out to churches to get faith leaders to join.

"That's a huge support network for people in addiction, people in recovery and also for those families that are affected by this," Tucker said.

For the past year, the task force has held panel discussions, created brochures and linked addicts and families to resources.

It’s support Young says families should lean on during those dark times.

"There's help,” Young said. “There's help. There's help. There's help."

The next opioid task force meeting in Forsyth County will be Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. at 791 Jonestown Road in Winston-Salem.

To RSVP for the meeting, call (336) 716-5348.

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