Substance abuse and addiction forum is 6 p.m. Wednesday

A Substance Abuse and Addiction Forum is at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Homer High School Commons. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Alaska Governor Bill Walker declared a public health crisis earlier this year in order to combat the state’s opioid epidemic. Substance misuse and addiction are negatively affecting individuals, families and businesses on the Southern Kenai Peninsula, and prescription and non-prescription drugs are a growing concern in the community. Substance abuse was the factor ranked number one as most negatively affecting the community in all three of the last community health needs assessments for the southern peninsula.

Join the community conversation to learn more and discuss the issue of substance misuse, abuse and addiction. Andy Jones, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Deputy Incident Commander of Alaska’s Opioid Response Team, speaks on the history of opioids and the state’s response to the crisis. Dr. Sarah Spencer, Addiction Medicine Specialist, discusses the science of addiction as a chronic disease. Stephanie Stillwell, RN, BSN, Public Health Nurse II, Section of Public Health Nursing, speaks on the stages of recovery, the resources available locally and ways to get involved. Stories of addiction will be shared through the voice of a recovering addict and family members affected by the disease.

A community conversation follows the presentations, including ample time for questions, suggestions and conversation. Service providers related to addiction response, recovery or prevention are encouraged to attend to contribute to the discussion and share their materials or information.

Contact Bonita Banks, RN, Health and Wellness Educator at 235-0285 or www.sphosp.org for additional information. Sponsored by MAPP of the Southern Kenai Peninsula, a local coalition working together to improve community health.

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