Originally on WXII 12

September 26, 2018

On Tuesday, first responders, elected leaders and advocates gathered to discuss the state of the opioid crisis in Forysth County.

Leadership Winston hosted a Community Conversation about the epidemic at Forsyth Tech Community College.

State Attorney General Josh Stein moderated the panel of law enforcement, medical professionals and advocates.

"“We all have to do something, we all have do something together,” Stein said of the epidemic. “We have to be in it for the long haul."

In front of a crowd, the group shared stories of success and struggle, answered questions, and discussed possible solutions about how to curve the plague causing pain to local families.

WSPD Capt. Nance listed off two statistics:

In 2017, 61g of heroin was taken off streets by WSPD. 
In 2018, 355g of heroin and 84 g of fentanyl so far have been removed.

“If we’re going to spend money, the mental health side of things would be really, really key,” Carolina Pain Institute Dr. Chris Gilmore said.

“Nearly every opioid addict I’ve talked to says their biggest fear isn’t jail time,“ Capt. Doug Nance, far left, said. “It’s getting dope sick.”

"It is the worst ever, you can’t walk," Susan Stevens said of being dopesick. Her daughter, Toria, died earlier this year of an overdose. "Vomiting and diarrhea, awful pain. And to have that for like two weeks straight."

"We were given a cruise by my father and we were going to go to Mexico and she knew she couldn’t take Heroin on the ship with her," Stevens said tearing up recalling the pain her daughter was in last year. "So Toria intentionally broke her leg so that she wouldn’t be dope sick on the trip so that she could get pain medication. She was so desperate not to be dope sick."

Since then, Stevens founded Tealdrops to raise awareness about opioid use.

Stein commended Forsyth Co. Sheriff’s Department for its change in tactic to allow those who are in the criminal justice system to begin treatment while incarcerated instead of waiting until someone it out of jail. He says this gives someone a much better chance of long-term recovery.

Stein and Stevens encouraged families to be proactive to prevent opioids and prescription drug abuse and potential overdose. If present, both ask people lock them up in the home. If they are not needed or unwanted, pills can be dropped off at the Pill Collection Box On N. Cherry Street.