Federal commission created to tackle opioid epidemic

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – President Trump has selected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to head a federal commission to fight the opioid abuse epidemic.

The commission will work with law enforcement and medical professionals to solve the crisis.

New Jersey has some of the toughest laws aimed to lessen opioid abuse including a state wide prescription registry and limiting the number of opioid strength pills doctors can prescribe to 5 at a time.

Here in the east those fighting the opioid battle say his solutions could be a step in the right direction.

Lt. Kip Gaskins works for the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and said, “We’re continually trying to educate the public and the school system about the dangers of prescription meds because a lot of people think that since it’s prescribed by a doctor that they are totally safe, which is not true.”

Gaskins said it’s not always over prescribing that’s the problem.

“We have very good and responsible physicians here but I think it’s people taking it amongst themselves to maybe start dealing prescription meds and selling their meds,” said Gaskins.

Gaskins said it’s often choices people make that lead them to addiction.

Matt Lambert of Port Health Services agrees.

Lambert said, “The patient choice to misuse one of these prescriptions comes down to, as addiction does, choices and those choices have consequences and those consequences are very severe.”

Lambert said helping those already addicted is crucial to solving the problem.

“Treatment needs to be more accessible and available and affordable,” said Lambert. “People don’t go looking for it. Nobody sets out to be addicted to heroin nobody sets out to be addicted to pain pills or any other drug of choice.”

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