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Opioid overdose awareness panel set for Thursday in south Forsyth

This week, parents and health care officials will be giving information and a demonstration on how to prevent opioid overdoses.

On Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at Fideles Christian School, Parent Recovery Network and the Recovery Community Foundation of Forsyth will host an information session on heroin, including a question and answer session, a panel and a training session to use Naloxone, or Narcan, an anti-overdose drug that reverses the effects of heroin and opioid pills.

“What we are going to accomplish is getting the awareness out of the heroin addiction, some resources and some hands on training for Narcan,” said Chris Intile, with PRN and emcee for the event, “and probably let the community know, the parents there and whoever else is going to be at the event, make them aware of the seriousness of the heroin addiction in our county, in particular. Of course, it is nationwide.”

Intile, who said her children have had heroin issues, said one of the main points she hopes attendees take away from the meeting is how to deal with someone experiencing an overdose, which she had to deal with in 2015.

“When you’re in a crisis, you’ve got to be emotionally and mentally and physically prepared to do what you need to do to save that life,” she said. “I wish I knew more then, as opposed to what I know now. I carry a Narcan kit with me in my car all the time, and I have one at home.”

Over the last few years, Forsyth County has taken steps to curb heroin use, a rising national problem. 

“I still think there are people that have their head in the sand, including many of the parents, that don’t know the seriousness of it and don’t know how to handle the crisis side of it,” Intile said. “I think any and everybody [should come to the event].”

The event will include a nurse doing the Narcan demonstration and an interventionist. A panel, including parents, will answer questions from the public.

“We have some parents on a panel that will probably share some of their experiences and how they’ve gone through the crisis on their own; some things that have worked and some things that haven’t,” Intile said.

Complicating the heroin issue is other substances that are being added to the drug, such as fentanyl, which is estimated to be 100 times stronger than morphine. Intile said fentanyl requires more than one shot, or kit, of Narcan.

“For me, giving up hope is not an option,” Intile said. “It’s continuing to stay connected and to take care of you so you can continue the process. Honestly, I think this heroin crisis has just taken the whole community by storm.”

Fideles Christian School is located 1390 Weber Industrial Drive, just of Ronald Reagan Boulevard.