BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Don Flattery, Honorary Chair of the Brunswick County Opioid Addiction Task Force, is calling for Brunswick County Board of Commissioners to immediately implement 13 solutions the task force presented October 16.
On Monday, Brunswick County Board of Commissioners declared the opioid problem a "public nuisance" and authorized legal action against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Flattery said he appreciates this action, but said those moves are long-term solutions and more immediate, local action is needed.
"We are in the midst of an absolute epidemic," Flattery said. "I strongly believe that what we are doing now is not working. We are continuing to see ever-increasing numbers of overdose deaths from opioids."
A few solutions that task force wants the county to adopt:
- Creating a full-time position for Prevention Manager with Brunswick County, who would coordinate social services, law enforcement, and healthcare.
- Funding treatment within Brunswick County for therapy with the assistance of medications like methadone buprenorphine and naltrexone.
- Establishing a system for therapy to support those struggling with addiction and their family.
"We have to change our mindset in how we try and support those who are struggling with addiction," Flattery said.
Flattery lives with the pain of having lost his only son, 26-year-old Kevin, to an opioid overdose in 2014.
"The loss of a child – there are very few words in the English language that describe that kind of pain," Flattery said. "I chose to pursue advocacy to see if we could ensure that others don't have to travel that same journey."
According to data from the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics, 82.9 opioid prescriptions were dispensed per 100 people in North Carolina 2011-2015.