Mayor Gorton, Baptist Health hope film screening spurs conversation on opioid epidemic

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As Kentucky faces a growing opioid epidemic, Lexington leaders are raising awareness by screening a new film putting a face to addiction.

Hundreds of people filed into the Kentucky Theatre Wednesday night for a special free screening of the film "Beautiful Boy." Starring Steve Carell and based on a true story, the film explores the limits of treatment and family love in confronting the power of addiction.

"As the movie points out, this can affect anybody and everybody and we need to be prepared," said Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers.

Baptist Health Lexington co-hosted the presentation with the city's new mayor, Linda Gorton. As a registered nurse, Gorton made fighting opioid addiction a central theme of her campaign last year and says there's no time to waste.

"Everybody in our community has been touched in one way or another," Gorton said. "This addiction situation does not discriminate. It's in every demographic."

According to a new report from the National Safety Council, for the first time in U.S. history, your odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are now greater than dying in a car crash.

"The only way we're going to address the opioid crisis is to realize it's not a problem, it's a crisis. So that means all of us have to work together across our boundaries because there really isn't any boundaries to the opioid crisis," said Bill Sisson, President of Baptist Health Lexington.

The presentation included new strategies to keep opioids from being diverted and misused including a pouch that lets people deactivate unused pills at home.

"We're going to zip this closed, we're going to shake this up for about 30 seconds, and the stuff that's in this pouch is going to magically deactivate those opioids so they can't be misused or abused," said John Edwards, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at Baptist Health Lexington.

Mayor Gorton encouraged everyone to come together to do their part to help save lives. Gorton said the city is working on a comprehensive approach to find solutions to the opioid epidemic.