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Opioid misuse is focus of June 29 community discussion/panel with local leaders

Opioid misuse and addiction is an escalating public health crisis and the focus of a community event and panel discussion with local leaders this week.

The Johnson County Mental Health Center will host the event from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, June 29, at the Ball Conference Center, 21350 W. 153rd St. in Olathe.

“One lost life is too many,” said Tim DeWeese, director of the Johnson County Mental Health Center. “Individuals in Johnson County are dying from opioid misuse, and we have a responsibility to provide effective prevention and treatment services for the health and well-being of our community.”

County stakeholders will participate in a discussion about opioid misuse as a concerning trend, what local officials are doing and discuss specific strategies for the future.

The event will include Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, members of law enforcement, Johnson County Emergency Medical Services and medical doctors from the University of Kansas, as well as Cottonwood Springs psychiatric hospital in Olathe.

According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of 10) involve opioid misuse. CDC data indicate 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose (that includes prescription opioids and heroin).

The event is free and open to the public, however, attendees are asked to register at jcmhcevents@jocogov.org or 913-715-7880. More information is available on Facebook.