Columbus Public Health hosts Drug Addiction event for African American community

Columbus Public Health hosted "The Basics of Drug Addiction in the African American Community" event, where neighbors got information about resources, treatment options, and more. (WSYX/WTTE)

On Wednesday, Columbus Public Health hosted "The Basics of Drug Addiction in the African American Community" event, where neighbors got information about resources, treatment options, and more.

"We realize that the African American community feels like they've been left out of this equation in terms of really being the focus of how we address the situation, and there is a lot of stigma," said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, the Health Commissioner at Columbus Public Health.

The goal was to break down that stigma and save lives.

"We hope by telling one person, they go back to their neighbors, their church members, their family members and tell others," said Dr. Roberts.

Personal stories were shared.

In front of the crowd, the tragic story of Anita Muhammad's daughter Jasmine was shared.

"Unfortunately, my daughter passed away Sunday, September 23 of this year from opioid usage, laced, it had fentanyl," she said.

The health commissioner shared stark facts about the opioid epidemic and all drugs, saying there are an estimated 4,300 heroin users in Franklin County every day, with two dying daily.

The rate of unintentional drug overdoses increased significantly for the black population from 2016 to 2017, and it's the same story for cocaine related overdoses for that timeframe as well, according to the commissioner.

"That is likely due to drug dealers tainting or putting other drugs in cocaine," she told the crowd.

Faith leaders said they would like to see more churches get involved in the solution.

"Drugs have always been a problem, but now with fentanyl and all of these things, it just compounds the problem," said Pastor Frederick LaMarr of Family Missionary Baptist Church.

People left with packets of information, fentanyl strips and more.

For details on the program and life-saving measures visit the Columbus Public Health website.

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