Orange County Insight September 2021

The EpIC Goal to Combat Substance Use Disorder By: Ellen Coyne, Communications Intern

In 1989, September was named Recovery Awareness and Substance Abuse Awareness Month. Although substance abuse disorders have been an issue for decades, the past ten (10) years have culminated in an overwhelming wave of opioid related addictions and deaths in the Commonwealth and Orange County. In 2018, there were twelve (12) opioid related deaths in our community.

In a direct response to the ongoing opioid epidemic, Orange County launched the Epidemic Intelligence Council (EpIC) three (3) years ago following increasing numbers of local citizens succumbing to the disease of addiction and in the hopes of facilitating a healthy, drug and addiction free community.

EpIC is a collaborative community council whose members include individual citizens, representatives of the court system, public safety agencies, school administrators, youth groups, and nonprofits, just to name a few. EpIC was formed in 2018 to centralize the resources and the conversations surrounding addiction in our community. Although Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) have been EpIC ’ s major focus; addictions to other substances are also addressed by the council. Since its creation, EpIC ’ s Mission Statement has been “ To boost awareness of the opioid crisis by identifying available resources, furthering education, and promoting well - being in Orange County. ” EpIC ’ s goals include SUD education in the community and schools, in an effort to erase the stigma surrounding addiction, and provide resources to community members, those who suffer from SUD and OUD, and family members. By providing a constant avenue for discussion, EpIC hopes to penetrate all levels of society from our youth to our elderly to inform our entire community of SUD and the available resources. In order to expand its resources even further, EpIC hopes to potentially utilize grants and other funding modalities in the future as it does not receive steady funding streams.

EpIC meetings are open to anyone! Meetings are generally held on the third Thursday of each month. For any further questions, please contact Orange DSS Director, Crystal Hale, at (540) 672 - 1155.

Additional information on EpIC can be found at: http:// - Information

Substance Use Disorder Resources can be found at:

The graphic on the facing page can be found in interactive form at: - data/deaths/

EpIC Meeting in 2019

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