Dozens speak about the impact of opioids in Tallahassee forum
While thousands have died from overdose across the state of Florida, Tallahassee has been relatively “lucky”, seeing only 82 deaths this year. However, officials and residents are not waiting for the situation to worsen.
A forum held this week brought out dozens of concerned parents, rehabilitation experts, medical professionals, law enforcement officials and elected officials to discuss solutions to the opioid crisis. The event was organized by Big Bend Community Based Care and other local organizations.
“This is again one of those issues where making arrests will not be a solution for,” Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil said in an interview prior to the event.
“We here in Tallahassee have not felt the impact of the opioids on a scale that others have,” he added, “and in that regard it’s the time to have the discussion about what kind of infrastructure we need to bolster our ability to fight back and assist people in our community who find themselves battling these addictions.”
Several participants rose from their seats to shed light on how opioid addiction has impacted their lives and those of the people they love:
The recovering addict who spent six years in prison;
The wife who buried her husband of 46 years after a hip replacement pain medication progressed to an addiction to pills;
The stepmother who watched her stepdaughter’s young life crumble.
The discussion revolved around three different solution models to the epidemic, per National Issues Forums Institute: an addiction-treatment model, a law-enforcement model and an individual-choice model that suggests society cannot force treatment on addicted people.
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To learn more about how Tallahassee residents and officials are stepping up to fight the opioid crisis, please visit Tallahassee.com.