The Yadkin County chapter of Project Lazarus is continuing its work in the community to address the epidemic of prescription drug abuse, which in a number of cases leads to overdoses.
“We’re trying to work on the different aspects of it, and it seems like a word that comes up again and again as a cause is trauma,” said Ken Boaz, the group’s administrator.
On Thursday, Project Lazurus held a Lunch and Learn event addressing trauma, a common root cause that can lead to drug abuse and addiction. Counselor Sarah Moxley led the seminar, which was attended by area professionals from the health and social services fields as well as educators and community church leaders.
Boaz said he felt in the two and half years since Project Lazarus had been established in the county that some progress had been made in the area of educating the public on prescription drug safety. Encouraging the public to make use of pill drop locations at the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office and Jonesville Police Department has been part of the group’s mission.
“I think more people are just being careful, but there continues to be a real problem,” Boaz said.
Having recently discussed the issue with Yadkinville Police Assistant Chief Patrick Long, Boaz said he learned that there were 40 calls to 911 regarding overdoses from January to August in Yadkin County. Those calls only account for situations where the caller specifically noted that the patient had overdosed.
Project Lazarus also is working to find a location where it can offer a clean syringe exchange program. Boaz said the program had been piloted in other places with much success. The program has several benefits including getting dirty needles off the streets which can cut down on the spread of communicable diseases. It also provides protection for law enforcement, EMS and first responders who are at risk for being accidentally stuck with used needles when responding to drug-related arrests or medical calls. The program also serves as a way to make face-to-face contact with drug users and can be an open door to share resources on rehabilitation and therapy options for those struggling with addiction. Boaz said the group is hoping to find a suitable location in the county to be able to offer the syringe exchange program at least once a month.
In her presentation, Moxley shared details about trauma and how that can differ from person to person. She began by leading the group through an imaginary scenario to show how a traumatic experience can lead a person to seek out drugs as a way to forget that experience.
Moxley has worked in the counseling field for more than 10 years now. She operates her own private practice in Winston-Salem.
“A common thread running through a lot of the clients I’ve seen is trauma, there’s rarely a person I’ve come across that has not experienced trauma to some degree in their life,” Moxley said.
For those in the social services and education fields, or any individual working directly with clients who are suffering from addiction, Moxley said that compassion is the key to being able to connect with those clients and successfully lead them to resources to win their fight against addiction.
For more information on Project Lazarus Yadkin, visit their Facebook page or website www.projectlazarusyadkin.org.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.