Clay County community partners are holding an Opioid Overdose Awareness Seminar on Thursday, Oct. 20 to bring awareness to opioid overdose and usage issues in Clay County.
The community is invited to attend the free event at First Baptist Church in Middleburg, 2645 Blanding Blvd. Transportation to the event will be provided at no cost. Those needing a ride should be at Clay Hill Elementary (6345 County Road 218) by 5 p.m.
A networking reception with food will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the seminar will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a moderated panel discussion with local experts, Clay County Public Information Officer Annaleasa Winter said.
This seminar will bring together a panel of experts from the community for a discussion about the effects of opioid use and overdoses in Clay County, as well as personal stories of loss and recovery from Clay County residents.
The event moderator is TJ Ward with Project Opioid Jax. Panelists include Glenn East from Clay County Fire and Rescue, Wayne McKinney from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Clay County District Schools Superintendent David Broskie and Dr. Jodie Graves from HCA Florida Orange Park Hospital.
Participants will be provided with real-time data, strategies to reduce access to opioids, and resources for treatment and recovery available in Clay County.
“Talking about overdose could save a life,” Winter said. “If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, there is hope and there is free help.”
In 2013, Clay County had 286 documented overdoses, but by 2017 the number jumped to 577 documented overdoses, according to the Clay County Fire and Rescue data.
“We are above state and national averages for overdoses and overdose deaths,” Clay County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Glenn East said.
In 2020 the county partnered with Clay Behavioral and the Florida Department of Health to start the OD2A, Overdose Data to Action Program. The primary goal of the OD2A Program is to prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths in Clay County.
Those who join the program are paired with a recovery peer specialist, someone who has also battled addiction but came out successful, and they are given their own guide to the recovery process.
Since launching the OD2A in 2021, Clay County has had 161 people participate in the program.
“We are at a 28% reduction in our overdose number since the launch of this program,” East said. “We have to remember that, put simply, addiction is a disease and we do not want to just treat opioids, we want to put our attention on all addiction.”
Click here for Clay County’s recovery and opioid support page.