Upcoming panel will address opioid use disorder | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

The statistics are startling: As many Americans expected to die from drug overdoses in 2018 as died in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts combined; 23 million people currently in recovery; drug overdoses now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. And no community is exempt from this scourge.

There is growing consensus that opioid addiction is a public health crisis that requires an immediate and massive response. Fortunately, in our region Olympic Community of Health, a coalition of public and tribal health agencies in Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap counties, is already responding to the crisis. OCH has held several opioid “summits” to educate local health providers about opioid trends, interventions, and new models of care that combine medical treatment and counseling.

Since family and community support are essential components in care plans, we should all inform ourselves about opioid use disorder. An excellent opportunity for this will be the March 23 free public education program sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Kitsap.

“Opioid Use Disorder in Kitsap County” will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Eagles Nest Community Center, 1195 NW Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton.

Speakers include OCH and Kitsap County health officers and providers as well as a scientist from the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Institute.

For more information, visit www.lwv-kitsap.org. And plan to attend!

LYDIA OLSEN

Bainbridge Island

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