Lawrence health department to host event on local opioid overdoses, resources

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An upcoming community event aims to educate and spark conversation about the local impact of the nationwide opioid crisis.

In collaboration with partnering organizations, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health will launch its first Public Health After Dark event Monday, Nov. 6 and share information on opioid use and overdose deaths, including new local data.

Dr. Dee Kinard, LDCPH senior analyst, will share statistics related to trends in opioid abuse with a focus on mortality numbers, according to Vicki Collie-Akers, director of policy and planning for LDCPH. 

A panel with representatives from partnering organizations also will provide an overview of community resources and addiction services available in Douglas County.

In addition to Kinard, panelists include Lydia Fuqua, DCCCA program manager of prevention services and project coordinator of Engage Douglas County, who will give an overview of DCCCA’s programs in prevention and harm reduction; Kyle Eichelberger, LMH Health clinical pharmacist, who will describe initiatives at LMH through the hospital’s opioid steering committee; and Lisa Russell, chief clinical officer at Heartland Community Health Center, who will discuss medication-assisted treatment (MAT) offered at the clinic.

Bob Tryanski, Douglas County director of behavioral health projects, will augment the discussion by providing information about efforts across the county to address the opioid misuse crisis.

Collie-Akers said the interactive event would offer an opportunity for questions and answers, and input from community members could be used in the development of the new Community Health Plan. The event is geared toward everyone, Collie-Akers said in an email.

“Our audience for this is the at-large community,” she said. “It is evident that this issue affects many different parts of the community — including across age groups. We hope that community members who are interested in learning more will join us next week.”

Public Health After Dark will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, in the auditorium at Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.

Due to the breadth of interest in opioid overdoses, organizers suggest would-be attendees guarantee their spot by completing an RSVP at this link. Refreshments will be provided during the free event.

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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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