Symposium aims to raise awareness about prescription pills

Apr 14, 2013

With the death toll rising when it comes to prescription pill over doses across the state, law enforcement and concerned citizens are coming together to find ways to prevent addiction that is scourging the county.

Just this year, the number of overdose deaths have risen from one in four to one in three, for every death investigated by the Haywood County Examiner's Office.

"This is becoming an increasing danger and a larger epidemic in our community," said Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed. But he believes that informing the community could make a difference.

In an effort to raise awareness and give the community a chance to voice questions and concerns when it comes to drugs, there will be an informational presentation called "Drugs in Our Midst: Prescription Pills and Synthetic Drugs Overview" at the Haywood Community College auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16.

New Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher, Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed and Det. Mark Mease with the Haywood County Sheriff's Office will be among those speaking about drugs in the county, from prescription pills to methamphetamine. They will also be discussing a number of pending legislation regarding drugs and how the community can support those bills.

Ritchie Tannehill, a counselor at Smoky Mountain Center, will speak about his past drug abuse and how he overcame the addiction.

"We feel it's imperative that everyone becomes educated on this topic throughout the community," said Hollingsed.

There will be refreshments following the presentation. The event is free and open to the public.