Local leaders gather to discuss fighting the opioid epidemic

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WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Leaders in Tyrrell, Washington and Martin counties met Thursday to discuss how to combat the opioid problem in their area.

This is coming on the same day President Trump declared the epidemic a “public health emergency.”

The epidemic is nothing new, but it is something Vickey Manning with the Martin-Tyrrell-Washington District Health Department says is just getting worse.

“The toxic trends,” Manning said. “How it started years and years ago, and just, it’s getting worse and we need to do something.”

That’s the reason why local leaders and concerned citizens came together to brainstorm ideas on new ways to fight the disease.

“Pulling together different minds and different ideas that we can come up with ways to try to educate and prevent and intervene,” Manning said.

The three county managers say they hope coming together will make their efforts stronger.”This is not some sort of concept that’s going on somewhere else,” Tyrrell County Manager David Clegg said. “You can see the results of it on the street in your community.”

“Rich, poor, middle class, all races, all different segments of the population are affected by this,” Martin County Manager David Bone said.

“Make sure that we are addressing the needs of the welfare of the community,” Washington County Manager Curtis Potter said.

They say they hope forums like these will bring greater awareness and education to the issue.

“Anyone who lives in Martin, Tyrrell Washington County, it needs to be personal, it is a public health epidemic so it needs to be personal for everyone,” Manning said.

Officials will create a synopsis of all the information gathered at the forum to release in a few weeks.

From there, each county will make a plan of action on how to best eliminate the issue.

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