In an effort to address a growing epidemic, law enforcement, and medical professionals gathered Friday at Wilmington City Hall for an opioid drug summit.
The summit, titled "Surviving the Epidemic," includes seminars ranging from enforcement to treatment methods.
Question and Answer sessions were filled with recovering addicts, searching for ways to prevent themselves and others from slipping into relapse.
An April study done by Castlight Health found that Wilmington has the highest rate of opioid use in the nation. According to the study, nearly 12 percent of individuals in Wilmington abuse opioids.
New Hanover Emergency Physician Bryan Durham sees this harsh reality of addiction everyday at work.
"There's not a shift that I don't work in the emergency department that I don't see someone affected by this and oftentimes it's multiple patients in a day. You hear about overdoses, we see the overdoses. We see the affects, we see how this tears families apart," stated Durham.
The Wilmington and UNCW Police Departments along with the New Hanover Regional Medical Center were among the groups leading the summit.
Durham sees this turnout from organizations directly dealing with the issue as a sign of unity.
"People who truly want to get, help we need to help these people we need to find out what the best solutions are to help those people and not any one of us has that answer. I think it's only through partnering together that we are going to come up with real solutions," said Durham.
Durham hopes, if nothing else, that this summit opened up a dialogue for his staff to better understand what services this community needs.
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