Coalition informed about opioid crisis

Published 4:34 am Saturday, September 1, 2018

Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its August meeting at the ESM United Methodist Church. The guest speaker was Traci M. Perry, MSN, RN, with the State Opioid Treatment Authority.

According to statistics, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose; there were more than 42,000 deaths in 2016 alone. Washington Parish reported 395 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2017. Based on percentage of its population, Washington Parish is ranked among the leading parishes with deaths resulting from opioid overdose. According to Perry, opioid abuse costs Louisiana $296 million every year. Perry discussed efforts being made in Louisiana to combat the opioid epidemic. Legislation has been passed that will help to reduce opioid abuse.

Reports were given by members. Charlette Fornea reported on the Prevention Connection meeting that takes place at 8:30 a.m. immediately before the WPCHS meeting. Prevention Connection focuses on data and means to help with problems in our parish.

Gail Brigham reported on the Louisiana Partnership for Success (LAPFS) program. According to Brigham, LAPFS has been addressing the opioid epidemic through a variety of ways in our parish. Brochures have been placed at local pharmacies, which outline safe usage and safe storage practices for prescribed opioids. LAPFS is marketing a social media campaign to educate the public on dangers of using opioids.

WPCHS President Gloria Kates urged everyone present to become a regular member of the WPCHS in an effort to increase the group’s ability to enhance the psycho-physical well-being of all individuals of Washington Parish throughout their life span.

Members in attendance at the August meeting included Rhonda Gunnell, Tam Gray, Lisa Ellsworth, Heather Gernold, Kay Kay Warner, Katasha August, Jason Fontenelle, Sheila Seal, Doug Ritchie, Traci Perry, Chris Guillory, Veronica Thomas, Gail Brigham, Charlette Fornea, Glory Davis, Emma Jean Ross, Gloria Kates, Ginger Champagne, Ninavia Minimah, Malinda White, Percy Knight, Brittiny Costella, Taffy Morrison, Jenna Mizell, Lauren Franklin, Greta Williams and Bill Moon.

The next scheduled meeting for the WPCHS will be on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 9:30 a.m. at ESM United Methodist Church. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, contact Rhonda Gunnell or Charlette Fornea at 985-735-0160.