Commissioner Murman quoted in this Osprey Observer article on South County YMCA:

 

November 6, 2017

YMCA Breaks Ground On $16 Million Spurlino Family YMCA At Big Bend Road

By Tamas Mondovics

Community leaders including county commissioners, local business owners and close to 200 guests gathered last month for the groundbreaking of YMCA’s long anticipated facility in Gibsonton.

The Spurlino Family YMCA at 9650 Old Big Bend Rd. in Gibsonton, a $16.4 million project, is the result of a long process and partnership between the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners and a joint-use lease agreement with the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA.

Special dignitaries in attendance included Hillsborough County Commissioners Sandra Murman and Ken Hagan, both major supporters of the Y.

The new facility will be named after its lead donor, the Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Rd. and will include approximately 32,500 sq. ft. of indoor space as well as an outdoor aquatic center, a much-welcomed addition to the growing SouthShore community to enjoy.

Expressing support of the project, Murman emphasized that the new facility will serve the community for years to come.

“I never dreamed that we can have such a great facility here,” Murman said. “What a remarkable and outstanding thing we can do for the residents in South County by investing in this facility.”

Murman added that every dollar put into the community will get much in return.

 

“We’re going to get healthy living programs for our seniors and adults,” she said. “We’re going to get programs for our children to keep them out of trouble.”

To promote the necessity of the project Y officials said that the new facility will strengthen the South County community in a number of ways including: promoting economic development by providing over 125 jobs, reducing accidental drowning, improving high school graduation rates, helping reduce obesity epidemic in adults and children as well as teaching children life skills through summer and sports camps.

“Seniors will get a sense of home where they can exercise, socialize and celebrate health,” said Y spokesperson Lalita Llerena, who added that addition benefits at all Y facilities includes the strengthening and supporting of cancer survivors and their families, improving the quality of life for residents.

Y officials are confident that the new facility will create a community hub, bringing together diverse groups of people for a common good.

The Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Road’s anticipated completion date is late fall 2018. For more information about the project, please visit the new Y’s Facebook page, which tracks the construction progress with pictures and updates. Also, visit www.tampaymca.org.

 

Commissioner Murman quoted in this Observer article on FCC:

 

Firehouse Cultural Center looks to the future with expansion plans

MITCH TRAPHAGEN PHOTO Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman and Firehouse Cultural Center Executive Director Georgia Vahue speaking at the Oct. 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center’s expansion.

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

Art and culture are more than pastimes or pretty things to look at. Both can bring diverse people together as neighbors and serve as the foundation to bind communities together. They also mean jobs and money: A 2016 study commissioned by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County found that nearly 15,000 fulltime-equivalent jobs are supported by the nonprofit arts sector, contributing $433 million to the local economy.

A part of those numbers is the growing presence of the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin. The center, which opened in 2012 in a closed Hillsborough County fire station, as the brainchild of a cadre of dedicated, community-minded volunteers, began full-time programming in 2013, has served more than 30,000 people in the local area through a vast array of programming, including arts, education and entertainment, designed to reach nearly every demographic in the region. That was in 2016 alone.

Georgia Vahue, the cultural center’s first and only executive director, came to the center from running a cultural center in the New York City area. She appreciated not only the vastly different dynamics involved in coming from a much more densely populated area, but also the opportunities she had to be among the first to bring the arts to the southern part of the metro Tampa Bay area. Soon the center became a full-time presence, expanding the reach through educational programs for all ages and interests, and entertainment opportunities where none existed in the past. Today, the Firehouse Cultural Center has a strong relationship with the Straz Performing Arts Center in downtown Tampa and even has its own radio station at 101.9 FM.

And now they are planning an expansion to an empty building, formerly a hair salon, across the street on 1st Avenue N.E. in Ruskin. The plans for the building include meeting the growing needs and demand for the arts, education and entertainment resulting from a rapidly growing South Hillsborough population. The 501(c)3 nonprofit center is working towards a $350,000 fundraising goal.

On Oct. 23, the public was invited to join with the center’s board of directors, county representatives, and center patrons to celebrate a ribbon-cutting for their new, increased presence and future, larger capacity for serving the region.

MITCH TRAPHAGEN PHOTO As if to prove the regional footprint of the Firehouse Cultural Center, the ribbon-cutting was an event for three area chambers of commerce: SouthShore, Riverview and Sun City Center.

 

Speakers at the event included Bruce Marsh, president of the FCC board of directors and one of the original founders; Janice Bayruns, vice president of the FCC board of directors; Lorrin Sheppard, chief financial officer of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts; Dr. Allen Witt, Hillsborough Community College; Martine Collier, executive director Arts Council Hillsborough County; and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman.

“This is an investment — a long term investment,” Commissioner Murman said. “I am very honored to be a part of this.” The commissioner has supported the center since the beginning.

The event also included a performance by young musical theater students.

For more information about the Firehouse Cultural Center and how you can help, become a member or take part in their programming, visit www.firehouseculturalcenter.org.

 

 

 

Commissioner Murman quoted in this Tampa Bay Times article on stadium site:

 

Crist angry he had no say in proposed Tampa ballpark site before it went public

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 3:34pm

But that’s not all who were surprised.

Commissioner Victor Crist was livid Wednesday that he learned about the plan through the media. Crist said it was a violation of protocol for Hagan to unveil a location as a county plan and present it to the Rays without first getting the approval of the entire commission.

Crist’s fear is that this has been branded publicly as Hillsborough County’s plan, when the county commission hasn’t even seen it, let alone vote on it.

“This has had no vetting of the county commission. This has had no vetting of public input,” Crist said. “This whole thing has been done in a vacuum behind the scenes, out of the sunshine and that is not how the Board of County Commissioners operates.”

Crist pointed out that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told reporters that he, too, was caught off guard by Hagan’s announcement. County Administrator Mike Merrill told the Tampa Bay Timesthat he wasn’t given a warning by Hagan either, but said, “That’s his prerogative.”

Hagan informed reporters Tuesday that the county had solidified site control of 14 acres in the area between the Channel District and Ybor City through a nonprofit that will be run by Tampa lawyer Ron Christaldi and businessman Charles Sykes.

Crist said he met with Christaldi the day before, along with Rays President Brian Auld. The Ybor site never came up. Instead, during the conversation, which included about 12 other people, Crist talked about the merits of the Tampa Greyhound Track for a ballpark.

Why didn’t Christaldi or Auld clue him in? Crist wondered.

“You can find this whole thing breaks down quickly just because it was handled inappropriately,” said Crist, who opined that his colleagues were just as upset.

But if they are, they declined to lash out, as Crist did.

Commissioners Al Higginbotham, Les Miller and Sandy Murman said they weren’t expecting an announcement Tuesday but nevetheless had no problem with Hagan making public the preferred site.

In a vote last year, the board formally designated Hagan the commission’s point person to lead the site search with other community and business leaders, and to negotiate with the Rays and landowners.

“We gave him that authority and to my knowledge he did exactly what we asked him to do,” Miller said.

Murman said, though, it is important to note that no deal has been struck — “We’d have to approve that,” she said — and she expects a conversation on the board soon.

“It’s a process,” Murman said, “and we’re in the conceptual stage.”

 

Commissioner Murman quoted in this ABC Action News article on her 3rd Annual County Job Fair:

 

Sandy Murman’s County Job Fair on Friday at HCC Tampa features 50 employers looking to hire

Virtual Job Fair to be held Friday afternoon

Sean O’Reilly

11:08 AM, Oct 12, 2017

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

TAMPA, Fla. – Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman’s 3rd annual County Job Fair on Friday features dozens of employers looking to fill openings.

“The most important thing that we can do in county government is to help our unemployed or under employed residents to find jobs,” said Commissioner Murman. “When more people are working, more people are saving and spending money at local businesses, and the economy continues to improve.”

The fair is being held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Student Services Building at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry Campus located at 4001 W. Tampa Blvd. in Tampa.

Nearly 50 employers are expected to participate in the job fair. Some will interview potential employees on the spot, while others will provide online links to jobs.

The participating employers have hundreds of positions available in both part time and full time work.

“We are very excited this year to have employers like Amgen, Tampa General Hospital, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Aramark, Bank of America, Hillsborough County Public Schools and many more,” said Commissioner Murman.

If you cannot attend the job fair in person, you can still participate in the Virtual County Job Fair on Friday afternoon.

From 1:00 to 6:00 p.m., job seekers can access www.careersourcetampabay.com/pages/murman_job_fair to apply for any jobs featured at the morning event.   The following businesses are confirmed for the job fair:

  • Amgen
  • Hillsborough County Consumer & Veterans Services
  • Primamerica Financial Services
  • Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission
  • Hillsborough County
  • Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Canterbury Tower
  • Bright Horizons Family Solutions
  • AAFES MacDill Exchange
  • Hillsborough Technical College
  • Macy’s Logistics and Operations
  • College Hunks Hauling Junk
  • CareerSource Tampa Bay
  • Hillsborough County Public Library
  • United States Army
  • Signal 88 Security
  • ChildCare Careers
  • Truecore Behavioral Solutions
  • Kelly Education Staffing
  • Bank of America
  • Angel Unaware
  • Cognizant
  • Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections
  • NeuroRestorative
  • OOVERTSIE, LLC
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Allied Universal
  • Brookdale Senior Living
  • G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.
  • BayCare Health Systems
  • People Ready – A TrueBlue Company
  • JP Morgan
  • Target
  • T-Mobile
  • Dynasty Building Solutions, LLC
  • Tampa Armature Works
  • Computer Generated Solutions, Inc.
  • Mediagistic, Inc.
  • Alliance Workforce
  • Convergys
  • Tampa General Hospital
  • Napa Auto Parts
  • Greenway Health
  • Aramark Sports & Entertainment
  • Telephone Service, Inc.
  • West Florida Health
  • Roy’s Staffing, Inc.
  • Manpower
  • Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

 

 

Commissioner Murman mentioned in this Tampa Bay Times article on her County Job Fair:

 

Commissioner Murman hosting Hillsborough job fair Oct. 13

  • Times Staff

 

Thursday, October 5, 2017 4:09pm

 

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, pictured, is hosting a job fair Oct. 13 for Hillsborough County with CareerSource Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Community College. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]

 

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman is hosting a Hillsborough County job fair Oct. 13. CareerSource Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Community College are partnering with Murman for the event.

About 50 businesses will attend the job fair, ranging from biotech company Amgen to Brooksdale Senior Living and JP Morgan Chase.

The event will be held at the community college’s Dale Mabry Campus at 4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd. from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, call CareerSource’s Angela Lyons at (813) 930-7836 or visit sandymurman.com/job-fair-registration.

 

Commissioner Murman mentioned in this StPetersBlog article on debris pickup:

 

Hillsborough Commissioners urge patience on debris pickup

by Mitch Perry

 

While it’s been less than a month since Hurricane Irma’s strong winds brushed through Florida, Hillsborough County Commissioners are getting an earful from constituents questioning when debris gathered in front of their homes will be picked up.

Irma blew over the Tampa Bay area the night of September 10. Just eight days later, two companies hired for debris removal — AshBritt and Phillips & Jordan — began the cleanup process.

“My office was originally told it would take 2-3 weeks for the first pass through. Then it was three weeks, then it was four weeks, and then last week I was told it would be mid-November before it would be completed,” said County Commissioner Ken Hagan.

It appears that we’re making significant steps towards clearing the debris,” he added. “But, candidly, when I drive through at least the northwest part of the county, I do not see it.”

Hagan also decried the lack of timely information on the county’s website when it came to informing the public about the status of debris pickup, calling it “inadequate.”

While the city of Tampa and Pasco and Pinellas counties have maps giving updates on the cleanup, Hillsborough does not, prompting Commission Chair Stacy White to agree with Hagan that “communications have to be better.”

County Administrator Mike Merrill said he took full responsibility for any failure of communications. He said part of the problem was the sheer magnitude of the debris that has accumulated, the huge size of the county, the unavailability of resources and the fact that the debris clearing companies have only been on the job for two weeks. “That’s not an excuse, just a fact,” he said.

The amount of the debris countywide may be unprecedented, with over 600,000 cubic yards scattered throughout the region. Merrill described the total mass of it as being the size of Raymond James Stadium and the height of the county center.

Public Works Director John Lyons said that there are currently 56 contractor crews now operating throughout the county, supplemented with 10 county crews. To date, over 112,000 yards of vegetation has been picked up.

Unlike other Tampa Bay area communities, AshBritt and Phillips Jordan have not bailed out on Hillsborough County to make more money by going to other parts of the state with more significant needs.

However, subcontractors not directly under contract with the county have left the region, resulting in subcontractor crews with smaller trucks that allow them to pick up smaller amounts of debris.

Although the commissioners agreed that no additional funding was needed to speed up the process, Merrill did say that he has informed the two debris contractors to go ahead and pickup trash in gated communities. That’s despite the fact that FEMA requires preapproval in those gated communities to get reimbursed, which he said took approximately 3-4 weeks.

“So I made the decision to tell contractors to just pick them up,” Merrill said, admitting that it could result in the county not being fully reimbursed for the entire cleanup.

Commissioners Les Miller and Sandy Murman, both residents of Tampa, said that they have not had debris picked up from their own homes, and urged patience, referring to the “huge, huge, huge” size of the county in Miller’s words.

“This doesn’t happen overnight, and you just can’t clean it up overnight,” Miller said, ignoring the fact that the majority of the debris did happen overnight September 10 into the next day.

Officials said things would get better soon.

Lyons may use Solid Waste haulers to work on Sundays to help out in the effort, saying Merrill promised that the county’s communications staff would come up with a plan to inform the board by the end of this week.

 

Commissioner Murman mentioned in this WFLA article on upcoming Job Fair:

 

40 employers expected for 3rd Annual County Job Fair in Tampa

By WFLA Web StaffPublished: October 3, 2017, 8:17 pm

 

 

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Forty employers are expected to participate in this year’s County Job Fair.

The job fair is presented by Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, in association with CareerSource Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Community College.

Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Amgen, Macy’s Logistics and Operations, ChildCare Careers and Hillsborough County Public Schools are just some of the employers expected to participate.

The 2017 County Job Fair is free and open to the public and will take place October 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the HCC Dale Mabry Campus, located at 4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd.

 

 

Commissioner Murman quoted in this Tampa Bay Times article on Governor’s support of opioid crisis:

 

Rick Scott announces support for new legislation, $50 million to fight opioid crisis

By Langston Taylor and Steve Bousquet, Times Staff Writers

 

Published: September 26, 2017

Updated: September 26, 2017 at 07:43 PM

 

Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that he is calling for a series of new proposals to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, including $50 million in new funding.

“We’ve got to do more education of our prescribers. We’ve got to help our substance abuse centers. We’ve got to help law enforcement,” Scott said.

The new $50 million would go toward drug treatment, counseling and the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council, which recommends initiatives to fight major crimes.

The new proposals include a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions; mandating that doctors who prescribe pain pills take part in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program — a program Scott opposed when he took office — and a new regulatory fight against unlicensed prescribers.

Limiting unnecessary opioid prescriptions is key to preventing people from developing addictions, doctors say.

But Tampa psychiatrist Jamie Fernandez warned against “one-size-fits-all” prescription limits.

“While limiting a prescribing pattern will be helpful, we also need to be mindful of the need for more individualized treatment,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez moderated panel discussions Tuesday at the Hillsborough County Opioid Summit, a gathering of medical and mental health experts and law enforcement officials organized by County Commissioner Sandy Murman.

Murman learned of the governor’s announcement during the event, and thought his proposals were “all good” strategies for fighting opioid addiction.

Florida has seen opioid overdose deaths spike in the last four years, recently surpassing the levels seen in the pill mill heydey in and around 2010, according to the state’s Medical Examiners Commission. Opioids killed 3,896 Floridians in 2015, the most in a decade, and a May report estimated more than 5,300 such deaths in 2016.

Dina Swanson, assistant chief forensic toxicologist at the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s office, said in 2010, oxycodone and alprazolam were the primary problems. Now they’re heroin and fentanyl.

Fentanyl, which drug dealers often put in heroin, is 50 to 100 times as powerful as morphine. Swanson also said she’s coming across more victims of Carfentanil, which is 10,000 times as powerful. Two milligrams are enough to knock out a wild African Elephant, she said.

Those substances are driving a significant increase in overdoses, Swanson said. The county is on pace for 225 drug overdoses in 2017, she said, up from 197 the year before.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said the county can’t just arrest its way out of the drug epidemic.

“This is a public health crisis, not a criminal justice crisis,” he said. He lauded expanding prescription drug monitoring programs and pushing for rehabilitation and treatment rather than harsh punishments for drug users.

But such treatment will take a lot more investment at the federal and local levels, said Tom Hill, vice president of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Hill said the outsized impact of heroin on white, middle class communities compared to prior drug epidemics brings more political attention, and lawmakers should “leverage this moment” to take action.

Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, recounted his own recovery from addiction — he’s 19 years, six months and two days sober — and demanded more aggressive treatment.

“Ten to 12 people are dying every day in this state,” he said. “And what are we doing about it?”

In a news release, Scott said his own family “struggled with substance abuse.”

“As states across the country continue to fight this national epidemic, we must make sure Florida is doing our part to help vulnerable individuals and keep our families safe,” he said.

Told that patients will be forced to pay more out of their pockets for co-payments if prescriptions are limited to a three-day supply, Scott said: “We’ll work with the insurance companies … but let’s think about this. These are people (who) are dying. These are people losing their lives.”

Fernandez, the Tampa doctor, said medical professionals know what treatments work but need to remove barriers to access. She hoped the state would work with local governments to improve coverage.

In 2011, the governor called on state legislators to repeal a law mandating the prescription drug monitoring programhe now wants to bolster.

Asked about his previous opposition, Scott cited changes in the past few years to the original database law.

“We’ve passed legislation that created more security for people, and so I think it’s the right thing to be doing now. But we have a lot more precautions now.”

Murman was glad he came around.

“I think he’s for it because he knows it’s another tool in the toolbox you’ve got to use if you’re really going to curb the epidemic,” she said.

Contact Langston Taylor at ltaylor@tampabay.com. Contact Steve Bousquet at bousquet@tampabay.com. Tines staff writer Kirby Wilson and senior researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

 

Commissioner Murman quoted in this 83degrees article on job fairs:

 

innovation & job news

October job fairs target unemployed, underemployed

CHERYL ROGERS | TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

 

Sandy Murman, second from left, organizes job fairs to get people back to work.

 

Whether you’re unemployed or underemployed, an upcoming job fair might help you get back on track. There are several scheduled soon in the Tampa Bay Area.

“Underemployment is a big issue, and the people are looking,” says Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman of District 1.

Murman has organized a job fair Friday, October 13, in conjunction with CareerSource Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Community College.

“There are people that are still not employed, that need employment, and we’re here to help,” she says.

The event is free to both employers and jobseekers. “The employers need to call us as soon as possible if they are interested in being at the job fair, and making their jobs available, because we do have limited space,” she says.

She’s expecting about 45 employers and possibly 800 to 900 job seekers. A wide range of positions will be available including fulltime, part-time and contract.

The job fair, slated from 8:30 a.m. to noon at HCC’s Dale Mabry Campus at 4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd., Tampa, is Murman’s third in that Tampa location. She’s already held six in southern Hillsborough, which was hard hit in the 2008 recession as construction ebbed.

 

To find out the employers that will be in attendance, check out Murman’s website or call her office at 813-272-5470. Those who need help preparing can contact her office to be connected with those that can help.

 

Jobseekers, who may be hired on the spot, do not need to register.

Following the event, the fair will be virtual from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and can be accessed on personal computers or at the public libraries. Visit her website and look for the link, which will be live when it’s available.

Florida Joblink Career also has a couple of events scheduled in the Tampa Bay region, the first one from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 5, atCourtyard By Marriott University Parkway, 850 University Pkwy, Sarasota. The event focuses on Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota and Bradenton. It is free to jobseekers.

 

The second event is planned for the Tampa, Brandon, Lakeland and surrounding areas Wednesday, October 11. The company, which places an emphasis on diversity, is holding the event from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Clarion Inn and Suites Conference Center, 9331 E. Adamo Drive, Tampa. Admission is free for jobseekers.

Some of the careers included in both events are sales, management, customer service, insurance, education, government, IT, human resources, engineering, blue collar and clerical.

Learn more about these events here.

 

Here are some other job fairs scheduled in Tampa:

  • Tampa Career Fair is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, October 17, at Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Westshore Airport, 4500 W. Cypress St., Tampa. Learn more about the event by National Career Fairs here.
  • The Job News Job Fair is slated October 24 at George M. Steinbrenner Field, One Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn more at JobNewsUSA.
  • A Tampa Career Fair is planned from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. October 25 at Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore Airport Tampa. The event by Best Hire Career Fairsis free. It caters to lots of different industries including accounting, banking, consulting, education, technology, public administration, tourism, video game and web services.

 

 

 

Commissioner Murman quoted in this Tampa Bay Times article on Opioid Summit:

 

Opioid Summit looks to focus on solutions to crisis

  • By Kenya Woodard, Times Correspondent

Monday, September 25, 2017 9:22am

 

TAMPA — An upcoming conference about the opioid crisis will offer information and resources that healthcare officials and government leaders say can help dispel stigmas related to addiction and help those afflicted seek treatment.

Tuesday’s Opioid Summit at T. Pepin Hospitality Center will feature key addresses from Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Phillip and renowned addiction expert Dr. Mark Gold. The event is free and open to the public. The conference brings together healthcare workers, physicians, public health officials, and members of law enforcement to discuss solutions to the opioid problem, said Susan Morgan, spokeswoman for Gracepoint, a mental health wellness center.

“There’s a lot of training and education that needs to be done,” she said. “The more we can talk about it, we can start to have those breakthroughs.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency, unlocking $27 million in federal funds for prevention, treatment and recovery services.

Legislators also passed two bills this spring attacking the problem: one increases penalties for traffickers of fentanyl, a synthetic cousin of heroin that is far more deadly; another cracks down on unscrupulous owners of halfway houses.

Similar conferences are taking place throughout the state but the Hillsborough gathering is especially timely: there was a 69 percent increase in heroin-related deaths from 2014 to 2015 in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

The crisis’ ripple can be felt far beyond the families and friends of those who struggle with addiction, Morgan said.

“There are employers who can’t find employees because they can’t pass the drug test,” she said.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, who organized the event, said the spike in the number of opioid-related deaths is “just awful”.

“(Opioid crisis) is a big issue for this area with the number of deaths,” she said. “We need an action plan.”

The conference offers a chance to further examine how local government can respond, including matching state and federal funds, she said.

The influx of federal money is “a game-changer” that opens new pathways to treatment for Gracepoint’s clients who seek help through its partner Agency for Community Treatment Services, Morgan said.

“If the detox is full, we can start the process while they’re waiting or if they don’t have insurance they can still get treatment,” she said.

Summits are helpful in bringing not only awareness to the problem but also shedding the stigma that comes with addiction, Morgan said.

“We have to combat the stigma,” she said. “There’s one conclusion and that is although addiction is chronic, it is treatable.”

 
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