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Opioid crisis

Mental Health Center to host community event on opioid misuse

News outlets, criminal justice agencies and health organizations across the county have characterized opioid misuse and addiction as an escalating public health crisis.

The Johnson County Mental Health Center will host a community conversation and panel discussion on opioid misuse 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, June 29, at the Ball Conference Center, 21350 W. 153rd St. in Olathe.

County stakeholders will participate in a discussion about opioid misuse as a concerning trend, local responses and developing strategies for future efforts.

The event will include Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, members of law enforcement, Johnson County Emergency Medical Services and medical doctors from the University of Kansas, as well as Cottonwood Springs psychiatric hospital in Olathe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of 10) involve an opioid. CDC data indicate 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose (that includes prescription opioids and heroin).

“One lost life is too many,” said Tim DeWeese, director of the Johnson County Mental Health Center. “Individuals in Johnson County are dying from opioid misuse, and we have a responsibility to provide effective prevention and treatment services for the health and well-being of our community.”

The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to register at jcmhcevents@jocogov.org or 913-715-7880. More information is available on Facebook.