Meridian meeting to address Ada County opioid crisis

MERIDIAN, ID - A community awareness campaign event looking at what officials are calling Ada County’s opioid crisis is set for tonight at the Ten Mile Christian Church in Meridian.

Ada County Problem Solving Courts along with their partners -– the Veterans Administration, Ada County Paramedics, Ten Mile Christian Church and the Idaho Department of Correction –- will be hosting the meeting.

“This event is aimed at making the public aware of the opiate problem in Ada County, educating people on how easy it is to become addicted, and exposing them to community resources that are available for those in need,” said Ada Country spokesperson Kate McGwire.

Statistics show we lose one person every 45 hours in the Gem State to opioid abuse. Ada County leaders are looking to change that by offering a series of educational events – starting with tonight’s meeting -- to tackle the epidemic head-on.

“We really need to do something about this, and we need to do something about it now,” said Judge Lynn Norton of Idaho’s Fourth Judicial District.

In 2015, nearly 220 Idahoans died from a drug overdose.

“We know it’s a national problem, but this is a problem in Ada County,” Judge Norton said. “This is a problem here.”

Ada County Coroner Dotti Owens says there have been eight overdose-related deaths in Ada County since January first of this year.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen a pretty significant increase,” Owens said. “As an estimate, we went from about 50 to 60 a year, to now we’re well over 100 [a year].”

Overdoses are starting to inundate the Ada County morgue -- with doctors and investigators seeing them almost every week.

“Our two main leading causes of coroner cases -- legitimate coroner cases -- are actually overdoses and suicides,” Owens said. “We get a couple a week.”

“Anytime there is an overdose, whether the person lives or not, it has such an incredible impact on the fabric of our community,” Judge Norton added.

All ages are encouraged to attend tonight’s meeting at the Ten Mile Christian Church, 3500 W. Franklin Road, in Meridian

Doors open at 6 p.m

The schedule includes:

6:30 -7:00 p.m. Community Support Exhibit Booths
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Opiate Overdose Awareness Presentation
8:30 – 9 p.m. Community Support Exhibit Booths

You can find information at www.adacounty.id.gov.

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