Forum to educate community on opioid crisis

By Wendy Byerly Wood -

A community gathering is planned for Tuesday with the purpose of educating citizens on the opioid epidemic.

The day will begin early as a community forum will be held from 7 to 8 a.m. at the Elkin Center of Surry Community College to bring light to the issue of opioid addiction and misuse.

Sponsored by the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club, a committee of its club members have been working to coordinate the forum. The one-hour program will highlight the epidemic in the local community from the viewpoint of key stakeholders.

“We want to bring the facts out into the open,” noted a flyer on the planned forum. “Surry County was #1 in April this year statewide for opioid emergency room visits per capita and remains high on the list. Surry County’s hospital emergency departments have treated over 480 overdoses since Jan. 1 of this year.”

Four speakers will talk about the epidemic and its local impact, including a Surry County parent; John Shelton, Surry County director of emergency services; Dr. Steve Isaacs, an emergency department physician; and Mark Willis, Surry County’s opioid response director.

While the event is open to the public, organizers are asking those wanting to attend to RSVP due to limited seating, by emailing Myra Cook at Seats should be reserved by Friday.

A light breakfast will be hosted by Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital to accompany the forum.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

By Wendy Byerly Wood