'Triple Threat' discussion on heroin to include Westlake Police panelist

The Cleveland Clinic series “Heroin, Fentanyl and Carfentanil: The Triple Threat on Our Doorstep” is coming to Westlake Porter Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 11, to bring together residents, community partners and local experts, including the Westlake Police Department, in an open conversation about the opioid epidemic.

More than 4,000 people in Ohio died from drug overdoses in 2016. Although the state reports that both the prescribing of and unintentional deaths from painkillers is falling and heroin-related deaths are leveling off, powerful combinations of drugs that include fentanyl and carfentanil, a fentanyl-related drug that emerged in 2016, continue to claim lives in urban, suburban and rural communities.

"The opioid epidemic has struck municipalities like Westlake along with the rest of the State. We are not immune,” said Captain Jerry Vogel, one of the panelists for the discussion. “It is important for community members to recognize the problem and to learn how they can assist law enforcement and their own families fight the epidemic and slow the crisis."

Scott Petersen, a pain management specialist at Avon Hospital, will serve as the moderator of the panel which also includes Judith Toski Welsh, medical director of Cleveland Clinic Lakewood emergency department; Thomas P. Gilson, Cuyahoga County medical examiner; and Gina Bonaminio, certified peer supporter with The Woodrow Project, which provides housing for women in recovery.

This free event will be held on Thursday, Jan. 11, at Porter Library with registered participants able to sign in and visit resource tables at 5:30 p.m. The discussion with the experts will begin at 6 p.m. Registration is required and available online at clevelandclinic.org/TripleThreat. For more information about the program, call the Cleveland Clinic at 440-695-5174.

“One practical and important step that residents can immediately take is to remove unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications from their homes,” added Vogel. “We know that addicts often first began abusing prescription medications they found at home or took them while visiting family or friends who had them.”

Never flush unused or expired prescriptions in the toilet where they can get into the water supply. The Westlake and Bay Village police departments have a locked Operation Medicine Cabinet drop-off box in front of the station for non-liquid medications. To dispose of liquids medications, mix with coffee grounds, cat litter or sawdust to make them unusable and then place in the trash.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 9:57 AM, 12.19.2017