BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Brunswick County Opioid Addiction Task Force gathered Tuesday afternoon to update the community on its progress and discuss four upcoming initiatives.
"The death toll associated with this crisis just continues to mount," said Don Flattery, honorary chair of the task force.
About 40 people met, including leaders from Brunswick County law enforcement, churches, government, healthcare, treatment and recovery centers, and advocacy groups.
Law enforcement and first responders actively connect people they engage with opioid addiction to treatment and recovery programs as part of the Anchor Initiative.
The goal is to "divert people from jail to treatment," said Flattery.
"Helping them get into a detox program, getting them to and from that," Sheriff John Ingram said. "Once they finish the detox program, then helping them get into a treatment program."
The task force has also scheduled Addiction Awareness Sunday, which will take place the weekend of April 29. Task force leaders said the 125-plus churches in Brunswick County are important in reaching as many people as possible with the message of awareness, recovery, and treatment from opioid addiction.
"I know their family members, I know their friends and coworkers, and so anybody that is willing to help with this, we'd love to hear from you," Pastor Bill Eberle said. He encourages people willing to speak at churches about opioid addiction or work behind the scenes to contact him at email@example.com.
Additionally, task force leaders voiced their goal to expand the support network for families with loved ones facing opioid addiction.
"It's been shown that family support can be highly important to continuing someone's recovery path," said Flattery.
Surveying and expanding opioid addiction treatment and recovery options in Brunswick County is another goal of the task force.