Union University hosts panel discussion on opioid addiction

JACKSON, Tenn. — Dozens gathered Wednesday at the Carl Grant Events Center on the campus of Union University for a panel featuring experts discussing the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The program began with a live broadcast from Washington, D.C., called, “Recovery, Prevention, and Hope: Confronting the Opioid Crisis,” with a national panel convened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services discussing awareness and reinforcing the role of community and families in long-term recovery and prevention.

After the broadcast, local experts shared their knowledge on alcoholism and drug dependency. Kim Parker of Pathways said one of the issues needing attention is funding for treatment.

“Even if they bypass the stigma and come to get treatment, sometimes that’s not available from them because the funding is not there,” Parker said.

Damien Nethery of the Grove said another improvement needed is access to care.


“Making sure that people that need the help know that help is out there,” Nethery said. “And they don’t have to necessarily have a certain type of health insurance, they don’t have to have a criminal charge, they don’t have to necessarily be at the bottom.”

Panelists said the amount of community support is uplifting.

“It’s so encouraging knowing that here in Jackson and West Tennessee that there is a community that wants to learn, that wants to know what’s going on,” Nethery said. “They want to hear the stats and research, then they also want to be a part of the solution.”

According to statistics provided by the panel, Tennessee ranks No. 7 in the most drug overdose deaths in our country.

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