More than one hundred people, including teachers, students and the general public, came out to Pikeville College to learn about drug addiction as a disease. This presentation was put on by UNITE Pike, the Substance Abuse Task Force and Pikeville Medical Center. The focus was on drug addiction as a disease; something that most people don't usually consider, and what can be done to properly to treat it.
It is no secret that drug addiction is a problem in this area, but after listening to the presentation, people learned that it is a problem everywhere and it is something that needs to be treated in a specific way.
"This is a disease, not a moral deficiency. A lot of times people will try to hide this and not let it be known," Barry Chaney, UNITE Pike Chairperson.
Officials say this happens because people don't treat drug addiction like they would other diseases and that's an issue.
"Wrong explanations, so many wrong treatments, so many things that don't work. It's an extremely prevalent problem and we've really garbled some of the best treatment and explanation for the problem," said Dr. Burns M. Brady, a physician a speaker.
While it's important for the entire community to be educated about drug addiction, it is especially important for those who interact with kids.
"When we work in a position with teenagers, we're more aware of what's out there and what's available so we can better deal with it and know the dangers to look for," said Mitch Justice, a teacher at Belfry High School.
Drug education for kids is crucial because officials say one of the biggest issues now is multi-generation drug use.
"It means parents are using. Children begin at an early age and a lot of times it's not even frowned upon. It's just considered a way of life," said Melanie Stevens, the UNITE Pike Coordinator.
And this will never be resolved unless more people get involved in making a difference.
"We need to come together as a community to solve this problem and it's a multifaceted problem. It's going to take a community to make that change," said Stevens.
Officials hope with more education, community involvement and presentations like this one...a change is possible. For anyone interested in finding out accurate information about drug addiction treatment you can check out the American Society of Addiction Medicine Website.