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Opioid awareness education continues in Martinsville

Panel discussion held Monday to allow people to ask questions

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – A panel discussion was held Monday night in Martinsville to discuss opioids.

This comes the same day President Donald Trump outlined his opioid initiative.

The initiative focuses on reducing the number of opioid prescriptions filled across the country.

The five-member panel at the discussion in Martinsville included the city's deputy police chief, the West Piedmont Health District's epidemiologist and representatives from multiple community organizations.

People had the opportunity to ask questions about opioids and opioid abuse.

In January 2017, the Martinsville-Henry County area was ranked number one in the state for opioid and heroin overdoses.

"The more people are educated about this, the more they are aware and less likely to fall into the pitfalls of it or even have accidents occur," Martinsville Deputy Police Chief Maj. Robert Fincher said.

Fincher is also a member of the Police Executive Research Forum, which is made up of chiefs and deputy chiefs from across the country.

In 2017, the organization published a 92-page overview of the challenges the national opioid epidemic poses for members of law enforcement.

"In PERF's 40-year history, we have taken on many difficult, sensitive issues...But never has PERF worked on an issue more vexing and painful than the opioids crisis that the United States is now facing," PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler said in the publication.