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Health Forum to Tackle Opioid Crisis


The Kent County Medical Society Alliance will hold a forum next week to educate parents and guardians about the opioid epidemic, which one official calls a “national crisis.”

Held in conjunction with Families Against Narcotics of Grand Rapids, the May 3 event at Kent ISD targets what parents can do to protect their children from the growing problem of opioids.The Kent County Sheriff’s Department will be there to take back unused prescription drugs before the program.

Health experts will share stories and statistics on the epidemic of opioids, a class of drugs that includes heroin and pain-relievers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

Moderated by Dr. Jeanne Kapenga, president of the local chapter of Families Against Narcotics, the panel will include specialists in addiction, Kent and Ottawa county medical examiner Dr. David Start, a representative from the U.S. District Attorney’s office and a psychiatrist from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

Education about Opioids
What: Opioid Awareness for Parents
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 3; drug take-back at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Kent ISD Education Center, 2930 Knapp St. NE Use parking lot No. 11.
Admission: Free
More information: Kent County Medical Society Alliance 

Alexis Boyden, president of the Kent County Medical Society Alliance, said educating the community on opioids is key. She notes 80 percent of opioid abuse begins at home.

“We want to provide education and reach out to parents and students in recognizing what the signs are and how can we prevent this,” Boyden said.

“It’s definitely a growing problem and a national crisis. It happens in the country every day, but we think it’s not going to happen to us.”

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Families Against Narcotics of Grand Rapids

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