FREE Opioid Use Disorder Educational Events - Access Health Louisiana

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FREE Opioid Use Disorder Educational Events

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Opioid Use Disorder:  A Family Matter

Opioid abuse is a growing problem in Louisiana and across the United States leading to an increase in overdose deaths, emergency room admissions and over-prescribing.  In an effort to increase awareness and education, Access Health Louisiana will hold a two-part series titled, “Opioid Use Disorder:  A Family Matter” at the Bogalusa High School Gym located at 100 M.J. Israel Drive.  The speaker series will include experts in Addiction, Mental Health, Trauma and Triumph.  The event is made possible through a Health Resources & Services Administration funding called “RCORP” – Rural Communities Opioid Response Program.  The opioid crisis has hit rural communities like Washington Parish particularly hard.  Rates of deaths from opioid use tend to be higher in rural communities rather than urban communities due to resources.  Barriers to treatment and prevention services limit access to care.  AHL together with community partners like two-time Olympian and WNBA player Ruthie Bolton want families to know that their is hope and options to opioid use.  Bolton, who has family ties to the Bogalusa and Washington Parish area, says that education is key to making change in the community.  Three speakers will address the community on each Saturday.  Here is the lineup for each weekend event:

Saturday, January 22nd:

Adam Rivas, MHS, LPC – “Concept of Addiction”

Tonja Myles, Advocate & Subject Matter Expert in Addiction, Mental Health & Untreated Trauma – “Behavioral Health Impact on Families”

Mary Jo Balado, Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PALS) Representative – “A Personal Story; Supporting a Family Member”

Saturday, January 29th:

Ruthie Bolton, Advocate, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, Former WNBA Player & 2021 Women’s Olympic Coach – “Overcoming Adversity in a Seemingly Hopeless Situation”

Vanice Zenon, LCSW, Assistant Vice President of Behavioral Health & Human Services for Access Health Louisiana – “How to talk to your loved ones”

Jerome Warren, Pastor of Greater Hayes Creek Church in Franklinton – “The Role of the Faith Based Community”

Healthy Blue Louisiana is providing a continental breakfast each Saturday for those who attend.  COVID vaccinations will be provided at the Saturday, January 22nd event ONLY by the Louisiana National Guard.  Social distancing will be practiced and masks are required.

Community partners participating in the series include:  Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, DEA, Bogalusa Police & Fire Department, Louisiana National Guard, Florida Parishes, ADAPT, Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services, Volunteers of America, Northshore EMT, Mayor Wendy Perrett, Louisiana Department of Health, Northshore Community Technical College, Krewe of Brothers & Sisters Together, LSU Agriculture, and Just Us Family Group Home.

(This resource is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $87,750. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit