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Butler County drug forum to address help for addiction

The Butler County Opiate Task Force will host a public session from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at the Miami Hamilton campus in the Wilks Conference Center.

With the heroin epidemic growing and substance abuse at record levels, health officials contend this a critical information session that will help the public gain valuable information on how to seek treatment for addiction.

Presenters at the public session will be treatment providers throughout Butler County talking about what kind of treatment their organization provides, whether they take insurance, the protocol for admission and their philosophy of treatment.

Julie Payton, senior director of Addiction Services at Butler County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Services Board, calls the forum a valuable tool to help combat addiction.

“The OTF and Recovery and the Recovery Services Board is looking forward to learning about a variety of addiction treatment providers located in Butler County,” Payton explained. “Given the severity of the opiate epidemic, the community should be aware of where a person with addiction can go for help. We have nine local providers who will briefly share their services and how they can be accessed. Agencies who serve individuals with Medicaid, low or no-income and those with private insurance will be speaking.”

Overall, more than 13,000 Ohioans have lost their lives to drug overdoses since 1999 at an average rate of five people a day, and the leading cause of most overdose deaths are opiates, such as heroin and prescription painkillers, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In Butler County, 189 people died from drug overdoses in 2015. Of those, 149 were heroin-related — including heroin, fentanyl or a combination of both, Dr. Lisa Mannix, Butler County coroner, told the Journal-News.

Mannix said that 2016 data shows that Butler County is on pace to exceed the 189 overdose-related deaths in 2015.

In Hamilton County, Cincinnati experienced 174 overdoses in one week (Aug. 19-25), according to the county coroner.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told more than 220 first responders at an addiction forum held recently in Cincinnati that it will take a grassroots effort from every community to successfully combat opiate and heroin problems that he called the worse he has ever seen.

Susan Lipnickey, the chair of the OTF and professor emerita at Miami University, agrees with DeWine and that is why she’s citing Friday drug forum as an opportunity to for a strong grassroots approach to address the issue.

“With the changing landscape of treatment for addiction and the increased impact of the heroin epidemic, the OTF and Recovery Services Board have planned an in-person opportunity for the Butler County Community to learn first-hand of the resources available for the treatment of opiate addiction,” Lipnickey explained. “With presentations from several agencies, the opportunities for questions and the chance to engage in discussion, this program is intended to reach across all demographics within our county.”

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