Samford University hosts forum on opioid abuse in Jefferson County

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — The opioid epidemic taking over Jefferson County with overdoses happening almost daily around the county prompted a forum at Samford University.

Several leaders in drug prevention, education and state law makers gathered for the forum to address the epidemic including the county coroner.

The opioid epidemic is a problem known all too well by families and especially law enforcement and first responders – but on Monday night the real question was the inevitable – how exactly do we combat this problem?

Samford students, parents who’ve lost children to opioid abuse and a panel of experts discussed the problem that sweeps not only Jefferson County, but the entire state.

Many people in the room were in agreement on many of the factors into opioid abuse – but as some pointed out, the people who needed to hear it were not in attendance, addicts, teens and their parents.

“Parents don’t want to talk about this – there is a stigma like you said about drug addictions and drugs,” said Michelle Blue, a nurse and parent. “If you come from a very well socio-economic family and that family is doing good – nobody wants to talk about their child having a problem because it makes the family look bad.”

Former addict and now prevention specialist Danny Malloy offered his insight about the ongoing epidemic, “the problem has outgrown what we have for people,” he said. “It’s not just because I’m in prevention, but …you know we need to invest in prevention.”

Not only an investment in prevention – but panelist acknowledged the desperate need for more places of treatment for those seeking help.

In the next few months we’re told the Jefferson County Health Department will work to fund a resource center that would help addicts find the appropriate care – one more step down a long road to beat the opioid epidemic.

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