Alleghany Highlands holds community discussion on the opioid crisis

By Irisha Jones - Reporter

COVINGTON, Va.- - A community discussion about the ongoing opioid epidemic is continuing. And those in the Alleghany Highlands are seeing their share of problems from the nationwide issue.

The panel discussion conversation was sponsored by the Alleghany Highland Community Services and Healthy Youth Coalition. 

People in Covington were able to get resources on how to beat this crisis in their lives and the lives of others they may know.

Each person at this table has been affected by the opioid problem in some way, including Ryan Hall, the son of the top law enforcement officer in the county.

"I grew up in a good home. My dad is the sheriff. I graduated top 10 of my class. Went to college on a full academic scholarship. It can happen to the best of us," said Ryan Hall.

Ryan was featured in a documentary telling the story of how he got addicted to prescription drugs after a football injury. His pain eventually lead him to heroin. The recovering addict hopes his story can help others.

"They are not brave enough to step forward. They think they are going to lose their job or lose friends at the church or people are going to view them some type of way," said Hall.

His father says the documentary is making an impact around the commonwealth.

"We have dispatchers from other places that said after seeing this documentary it can happen to anybody and I don't feel like a piece of dirt now I see that it happened to a sheriff's son," said Sheriff Kevin Hall. 

Alleghany Highlands Community Services is bringing awareness to the growing opioid problem and resources locally. 

"The mortality rate is higher per capita than it is statewide. It's 12.8 as mortality rate where as the statewide is 5.5," said Matina Kazameas of the Alleghany Highland Community Services. 

Fincastle Baptist Church was the host for the event. Campus pastor Jeff Wyld said it's vital the church is involved to heal the community. 

"Jesus Christ came to serve the community and not to be served but to serve others. As we reach out in the community we exhibit the hands and feet of Christ," said Wyld. 

The Alleghany County Sheriff's Office will be holding a Narcan training class in May for those who want to learn to give the medicine to help reverse an opioid overdose.

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