Panel discussion at North Country Union High School tackles opiate addiction

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NEWPORT — There are options for people with substance abuse disorders who are ready to begin recovery from addiction, however, being able to access recovery services at the crucial moment when they are needed, emerged as a critical challenge at a recent panel discussion.

The event, Conversations of Hope, Facing Addiction in the NEK, took place at North Country Union High School.

Monday night’s panel talked about treatment methods for addiction, such as methadone, suboxone, counseling for mental health, and the potential for alternative therapies such as acupuncture detox treatments, trauma-informed therapy, yoga, fitness, arts and music, as well as the role that faith-based recovery groups have had for many people.

The panel brought together a network of people whose jobs help shape the community’s response to people in addiction, and also people with lived experience of addiction.

The moderator was Judge Howard VanBenthuysen.

Panelists discussed ways to encourage more communication and coordination in the community when people with addiction are ready to enter recovery, and the important role that wellness clinics and mentoring programs, such as a Big Brother/Big Sister, could play in supporting prevention and recovery.

NEK End Addiction meets next Monday, February 6, and will follow up Conversations of Hope discussions, at Lake Region Union High School at 4:00 pm.

The public is invited to attend.

Conversations of Hope was organized by the HealthWorks/NEKLS Coalition and grassroots groups NEK End Addiction, NEK Stand Strong, and the Journey to Recovery Community Center with financial support from a Rotary Club grant.

The purpose of the series was to give an opportunity for all voices to be heard, and to build understanding by listening to each other’s experiences and point of view.

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