Opioid epidemic has reached our neck of the woods

    A panel/community discussion next week in Crookston aims to gain insight into the opioid use/abuse epidemic that has been sweeping across the United States and is having a local impact on Crookston and the region.

    The “Opioid Panel Community Discussion” coordinated by the Polk County Wellness Coalition along with a variety of local partners and experts will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Crookston High School. It’s free.

    Opioids include both illegal drugs such as heroin and powerful pain relievers available legally by prescription (such as oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, etc.).  Opioid use/abuse is affecting all ages and demographics and it is now an issue law enforcement, emergency responders and medical personnel are combating throughout northwest Minnesota.

    Organizers and facilitators hope to increase awareness of the topic of opioid use/abuse and build on community efforts to address this reality in our region.  

    The Feb. 22 forum will feature  FADED, a 45-minute local documentary produced by MeiLi Smith that follows four families impacted by prescription drugs, heroin and synthetic fentanyl. The viewing will be followed by presentations from panel experts and a time for questions and a community conversation with our experts representing the courts, healthcare, mental health, public health and law enforcement.

     Organizers and facilitators are asking for help in spreading the word to your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and fellow community members.  (Some language and content may not be suitable for all ages; however, organizers are encouraging parents to attend with their junior high and high school-aged youth

    A law enforcement officer in the FADED documentary that asked not to be identified maybe put it best when he said, “This isn’t a law enforcement issue.  This isn’t a courts issue.  This isn’t a prison issue.  This is a community issue.”