New River Community Services hosts an #EndOverdose event

DUBLIN, Va. – The New River Community Services hosted an opioid prevention event on Tuesday at New River Valley Community College to help bring awareness to the ongoing opioid crisis.

“I say fentanyl poisoning. It was not an overdose in the classic form of thought,” said Rhonda Baldwin, a mother who lost her son to the opioid crisis. “He was poisoned.”

Baldwin is just one of the hundreds of moms that has lost her child to the ongoing opioid crisis.

“I came today because I lost my 20-year-old son in 2021 six days after he had turned 20 years old,” said Baldwin. “I knew all the things to talk to my kid about, we had had those tough conversations. I had got the prescription drugs out of my home, and my child still became addicted to prescription drugs.”

Experts estimate 300 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, often from the drug fentanyl.

That is why organizations like New River Valley Community Services host prevention events to help bring awareness to the community.

“We’re really just trying to call attention to addiction overdose and help community members better understand the issue,” said Mike Wade, coordinator for community wellness and outreach for New River Valley Community Services.

At the event, there were speakers across the community, and it ended with author and activist Beth Macy speaking about the crisis.

“In order to turn the overdose crisis back we have to have community support. An event like this is so important where people can come together, share information, learn new things, maybe check of their blind spots,” said Macy. “Right now, we have an 87% treatment gap. That means 13% of folks with opioid use disorder are managing to get evidence-based care”

Baldwin said that she hopes events like this will lower the stigma behind addiction.

“I am hoping that people take away that this is a community problem. Its not those people. It can happen to anyone,” said Baldwin. “It only takes one person to make a difference.”

About the Author

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.

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