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Opioid crisis awareness and prevention takes center stage at Grandville High School

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Federal and local agencies are actively addressing the opioid crisis with a community event open to the public tonight at Grandville High School. WGVU spoke with presenters educating parents and teenagers about opioid prevention and awareness.

“This is the worst manmade epidemic known to mankind as declared by the CDC.”

Doctor Jeanne Kapenga is President of Families Against Narcotics.

“In Kent County the numbers have been increasing and we are well past the state of a crisis situation here.”

In 2017, Kent County projects there were 137 to 170 drug overdose related deaths. That’s one death every other day.

“I just can’t stress enough how important it is for parents and teenagers to understand this epidemic.” Andrew Birge is U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan. “Teenagers grow by making the occasional poor choice, that’s how they grow up, but they can’t afford to make a poor choice with opioids.”

Monday, March 19th at Grandville High School beginning at 7 pm Birge and Kapenga will provide prevention and preservation information.

“If the teenagers really understood how serious this problem is that would help," Birge stressed, "And if parents really understood how seriously they have to take care of that medicine cabinet that would help.”

Dr. Kapenga explained “The stigma that’s been surrounding the opioid epidemic and addiction has caused much fear and shame for those preventing them from getting the treatment they need.” Resources will be made available including information about over the counter overdose antidotes.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.