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WDAY's Kevin Wallevand among those talking about opioid-heroin abuse in Otter Tail

Lake Region Healthcare and Otter Tail County Public Health will co-host an evening of community conversation about opioid and heroin Abuse/Addiction on Tuesday, June 13, from 5:30—7 p.m. at Legacy Hall on the campus of M State Fergus Falls.

"In the past year, we've been hearing a lot more about the opioid misuse and abuse situation," said Otter Tail County Public Health Director, Diane Thorson. "We've been tracking data related to the number of prescriptions that are written for opioid use to just get an idea of how big the issue is in our county and we know that a lot of people need and use opioid prescriptions for a variety of different reasons. This is an opportunity to learn valuable information from our guest speakers, providers, law enforcement officials and fellow community members and discuss possible strategies and activities we can take on as a community to address this issue," she said.

Guest speakers will include Kevin Wallevand, reporter from WDAY TV and Kurt Devine, MD. Wallevand will share insights from his recent special reporting series on opiate addiction. Devine, a Family Medicine Provider at CHI St. Gabriel's Health will talk about the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention initiative in Little Falls.

The event is free and open to the public. "We would like anyone who has a concern or interest to attend," Thorson said. "We received some funding from the state of Minnesota through our state innovation model grant called the "Accountable Community For Health" project to host this event, so we do invite the public to help us to have an accountable community and help us to address this important issue on Tuesday night," she added.

It will be held at M State's Legacy Hall on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Pre-registration is requested by phone or email to Joanna Chua at 218.739.6775 or JMChua@lrhc.org.

The "Take It To The Box" program will also be available at M State that evening and attendees are encouraged to bring any unused prescription medications to the event for disposal. The "Take It To The Box" program is administered by local law enforcement throughout the county in partnership with the solid waste department to dispose of unused prescriptions in a way that they will not contaminate the water supply.

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