Oct 8th, 2019
Story by Geoff Cantrell from WCU

Town hall on opioid and addiction crisis opens doors to potential solutions

“The town hall, with panel discussions, speakers and a breakout session, was a partnership between WCU’s Center for the Study of Free Enterprise and the Jackson County Community Foundation, which launched a monthlong opioid and addiction awareness campaign in September leading up to the forum. More than 200 people attended, including WCU faculty, staff and students, government officials, health professionals and health care advocates, law enforcement, journalists and community members.”
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Oct 2, 2019
Op-Ed in Smoky Mountain News by Beth Young
WCU Social Work

We must be honest about adolescent addiction

“Adolescent substance use is on the rise across the country. Access to drugs (including opioids) and alcohol has increased exponentially, and the risks associated with substance use continue to grow in this vulnerable population. Again, the argument can be made that this is typical for a teenager to experiment with alcohol or other drugs, but I challenge that thinking, as it doesn’t have to be the case. The Centers for Disease Control have identified significant long-term impacts of adolescent substance use, which include impacts to physical growth and brain development, health and wellbeing problems, and increased engagement in behaviors that are deemed risky.”
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Oct 1, 2019
op-ed in the (Waynesville) Mountaineer
WCU’s Lane Perry and Pathways Center Mandy Haithcox

‘Releasing the Shame’: A story about opioids’ impact on individuals and communities

“Over the years, the impact of the opioid crisis has been felt across our communities, and organizations such as Pathways are there to meet the need at both the personal and community levels. While opioid addiction erodes foundations, Pathways focuses on building foundations.”
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Sept 30, 2019
Story by Lilly Knoepp from Blue Ridge Public Radio

How Substance Abuse Issues Have Changed In WNC

“Prescription opioid abuse has been in the national spotlight this summer as new data about the numbers of prescriptions per county has been released. North Carolina is also part of national lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma for their role in the crisis. In Western North Carolina, the policies around opioids and substance abuse issues are shifting as local politicians and experts look for a solution to the epidemic.”
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Sept 25, 2019
Story by Cory Vaillancourt from Smoky Mountain News

Western Carolina University event ‘walks the walk’ on opioid crisis

“It’s been said time and time again after forums, panels and public meetings held in communities across the country over the past dozen-odd years: if we could talk our way out of the nation’s opioid crisis, it would have been over a decade ago. “
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Sept 25, 2019
Op-Ed in Smoky Mountain News by Kae Livsey
WCU Nursing

More than medicine needed to address opioid epidemic

“The profession of nursing is the most broadly educationally prepared group of health care professionals that can contribute a holistic perspective to address the complex needs of individuals, families and communities working to overcome this current crisis. For this to happen, the general public, medical providers and policymakers need to acknowledge that there are other ways to support health and wellness beyond traditional medical treatments. Medical providers, in particular, need to do a better job understanding what other health care professionals can bring to the table.”
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Sept 18, 2019
Op Ed in Smoky Mountain News by Albert Kopak
WCU Criminology

To reduce overdose deaths, start in the local jail

“The criminal justice system operates on the principle that individual will is the sole determinant of behavior. If the defendant wants to stay out of jail, avoid a probation violation or make it to the next court date, then he’ll make it happen. This approach seems to suffice, until the gaps in the system prove otherwise.”
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