Harm Reduction Summit teaches Duplin Co. residents how to reverse an overdose

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In Duplin County, residents are taking a hands-on approach to fighting the opioid crisis.

Eastpointe and the NC Harm Reduction Coalition partnered together to host the Harm Reduction Summit in Rose Hill on Monday.

The goal of the summit is to put the power to fight the crisis back in the hands of those actively dealing with it.

“In Eastern Carolina, we work in a lot of rural environments, which means that often times law enforcement, EMS, and fire could be 22 minutes before they show up,” Robert Childs, executive director of the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition, said.

Monday’s summit included training folks on administering Narcan.  In addition to that, folks learned about harm reduction strategies like needle exchanges.

“As we see more people going away from prescription pills and going over to heroin and fentanyl, more people are going to be injecting drugs,” Childs said. “It’s more important now than ever to make sure that if they don’t get HIV or viral hepatitis B.”

Organizers hope the education will also help reduce the negative connotation surrounding seeking help.

“The stigma is still really bad and that’s why a lot of times they don’t want to get treatment or they don’t want to ask for help,” Melissa Reese, Eastpointe community relations specialist, said.

Reese says connecting addicts to treatment options will put them on the path to recovery.

This is just one of many upcoming crisis training events in Duplin County. A companion training event sponsored by Eastpointe will be held on Tuesday at the Duplin County Ag Center, 165 Agriculture Dr. from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

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