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Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition hosts discussion on substance abuse Aug. 31

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Let’s normalize conversations about substance abuse. 
On Aug. 31, the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition will be hosting a virtual event via Eventbrite for anyone affected by or interested in learning more about and decreasing stigma around substance abuse. This event is part of CCDP’s “conversations” on hot topics series and being held in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day. 
Jilian Reece, director of the organization, broke down the basics of this upcoming event.
“This event in particular is people who have been impacted in some way by substance abuse,” she explained. “Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and so we really just want to raise awareness. Overdoses are skyrocketing right now with COVID.”
Reece explained that with growing uncertainty in the world, caring for one’s mental health is very important. The goal of this event is to normalize having conversations regarding substance abuse, as well as provide support. 
“One of my biggest passions is reducing stigma,” she said. “Sometimes people are really scared to reach out because they worry about what people will think of them, or what people will say if they admit they’re struggling.”
Reece explained that while there are signs to look for with substance abuse, many may be suffering in silence by hiding their addictions, thus making normalized conversations that much more important to have.
Panelists speaking at the event will be bringing their own unique perspectives to the discussion. They include: Rachel Roden of First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court; Sherry Barnett, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist; Kim Crowder of Kingsport Family Recovery; Craig Forrester of Recovery Resources; Polly Jessen of Frontier Health; Scott Vaughn, Intuitive Reader and Energy Healer; and Lisa Taylor, family substance abuse survivor. They will share stories and resources with participants. 
According to the World Drug Report, an estimated 585,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2017. Facts like this and additional information can be found on the International Overdose Awareness Day website at www.overdoseday.com.
For more information regarding the event, go to the “Conversations About Substance Abuse” Facebook event page. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. 
“There’s always hope, and it’s OK to not be OK,” said Reece.