Baytown Town Hall to Discuss Opioid Epidemic


Lee College will host a free town hall meeting on "Prescription Drug Abuse: A Dose of Reality" from 6-8 p.m. April 18 the Rundell Hall Conference Center, 200 Lee Drive in Baytown. 

It is presents by the Southeast Harris Community Coalition, a program of Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol (BACODA).

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem across the country, particularly the abuse of opioids.

Opioids are a classification of commonly prescribed painkillers such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. There is a mistaken assumption that prescription drugs are safer than illicit drugs because they are legally prescribed, but taking a drug without a doctor’s oversight can cause major problems.

Opioids are highly addictive and it’s easy to develop a tolerance, which means more of the drug is required to cause the same effects. This can lead to accidental overdose, and nationally, these accidental overdoses have become an epidemic in America. 

According to the CDC, in 2015, opioids (including prescription medications and heroin) killed 33,000 people, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid deaths involve a prescription opioid.

Maureen Wittels, mother of late Harris Wittels --comedian and writer for TV's "Parks and Recreation" -- will share personal testimony and lead the panel discussion on prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic.

Presenters will include: Assistant Chief Dana Dalbey, Baytown Emergency Medical Services; Melissa Romain-Harriot, Prevention Resource Center Region 6; Timothy Carter, Baytown Police Department; Traci Gauen, Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center; and Mark Kinzly, Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative.

Panelists will also take part in a community discussion, adding Steve Dorris of the  Baytown Police Department and Long Nguyen of Walgreens.

“Prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic is a complex community problem that requires community-based solutions," said SEHCCP coordinator Amber Buras. "There are initiatives that the community may not be aware of -- such as Naloxone, an overdose reversal drug. We want community members to leave with valuable information to help their community and also find resources if they need them for themselves or family members."

To get involved in local community-based efforts to prevent prescription drug abuse, contact Southeast Harris County Community Coalition by calling 1-800-510-3111 or emailing amber.buras@bacoda.org. Get more information online at www.bacoda.org or www.facebook.com/bacodaseharris


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