Opioid Summit invites public for input on drug epidemic solution - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Opioid Summit invites public for input on drug epidemic solutions

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As the Valley and communities across the nation continue to look for ways to fight the ongoing opioid crisis, an event in Mahoning County will ask the public to weigh in.

A Community Opioid Summit will be held Friday, November 3, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Covelli Centre. The final hour of the event will focus on public comments and questions.

Education information will be presented, including what addiction is and what it does to the brain. Then, experts will talk about addiction-related myths.

"So many people have so many misconceptions about what is addiction and who are the people and what are they like," said Theresa Dellick, Mahoning County Juvenile Court Judge.

An addict in recovery and a family member will also join the event to share their personal stories and how they relate to the drug epidemic.

State Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown will join the event via video.

In his latest major policy move, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency this week.

While it doesn't mean new federal funding will start flowing into the state, Mahoning County Executive Director Duane Piccirilli said on WFMJ Weekend Today that this move could lift the limit on the state's maximum 16-bed waiver for drug recovery treatment centers.

"That would be huge because right now Neil Kennedy has 16 beds and that's all they're permitted," he said. "If that waiver would be lifted, they could double their capacity."

One of the problems Judge Dellick says she sees on a normal basis is the epidemic's threat to the family structure.

Dellick says the juvenile court has a drug dependency court which works with the Mahoning County Children Services Board and drug recovery and mental health providers to keep families together by offering treatment options.

"Without that program, we would have families in foster care and separated and we need to keep families together," Dellick said.

The event will be moderated by 21 WFMJ News Director Mona Alexander and News Anchor/Assistant News Director Derek Steyer.

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