Panel discussion to address opioid crisis set for Sept. 21

Record Staff Report
The opioid crisis will be the subject of a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at St. Bernadette Church in Prospect, Ky.

Families struggling with opioid addiction, those who feel at risk and those who might find themselves ministering to families dealing with this addiction are invited to attend.

“This is an opportunity for people to listen, ask questions, possibly find help,” said David Such, one of the organizers. “It’s not just for those who might be struggling, but for those who don’t know what this crisis is — how it starts, how to prevent it.”

Such, a member of St. Bernadette and of the Knights of Columbus, said he and his fellow Knights decided to organize the event after hearing one mother’s story about losing her son to an accidental overdose of an opiate.

“After hearing Linda Squire’s story that we saw in The Record, there was really a call to action about how to prevent that from happening to other families,” said Such.

The Record issued a call to action in an editorial published in July and the Knights responded, he said.

Such encouraged parish staff and volunteers to consider attending, as well as families affected by or concerned about the crisis.

Addiction “probably touches some family in every way — whether it be drugs, alcohol or some other abuse,” said Such. “Where do you go? That’s what we hope to answer. We’ve got people who can help families, who can help the individual, who can talk about what’s happening on the street.”

The panelists will offer a variety of perspectives:

Russ Read, director of Beacon House residential recovery facility, cofounded the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition that provides the overdose treatment known as Narcan.

John Walsh, retired CEO of The Morton Center who has a private practice focused on substance abuse. He will discuss the effect the crisis has on families.

Jim Shields, a clinical psychologist in formation to be a deacon, will discuss the effects on the family and offer spiritual support.

Matthew La Rocco will represent Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness.

Linda Squire, mother of Johnny Squire who died in 2015 of an opiate overdose, has urged the public to remove the stigma of addiction and find ways to offer support.

John Luker, an Oldham County paramedic, will discuss what EMS is seeing in the community and the effects of Narcan.

The panel, co-sponsored by the Knights and Catholic Charities of Louisville, will be presented in a roundtable and cake, coffee and drinks will be served.

For more information, contact Such at 412-4209 or Deacon Lucio Caruso at 637-5690.

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