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Forum gets ‘positive feedback’

Cumberland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Pat Scales hosted an opioid forum Tuesday regarding the opioid epidemic. According to a press release, the topic of the forum was, “The Need-to-Knows of the Opioid Crisis.”

Cumberland County Sheriff Darrell Hodges, who spoke at the event, said the forum went over very well.

“We had a lot of positive feedback and great questions by the participants,” Hodges said. “It was very informative.”

A representative from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in Richmond was also in attendance.

“It’s important for all citizens to know the warning signs of opioid abuse and how to avoid developing a problem with prescription painkillers,” Scales said previously. “I’m hosting this summit because I feel compelled to do what I can to be a part of the solution.”

According to a press release, late last year, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared the opioid addiction crisis in Virginia a public health emergency, and recently, the federal government made a similar declaration for the entire nation.

“Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin as well as prescription pain medications such as morphine, codeine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and suboxone,” officials said in the release.

The VDH reports that it has noticed a shift in the causes of overdose deaths. In its Opioid Overdose Data Quarterly Report for the Fourth Quarter of 2016, the VDH reported that prescription opioids had historically led to the largest number of overdose deaths; however, in 2015, illegal opioids such as heroin became the leading cause of fatal overdoses.