Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman will host a public forum and panel on how to address the ongoing opioid epidemic on Oct. 16.
The opioid and substance abuse forum will feature the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Baltimore-Washington High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program, Loudoun County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Loudoun County Public Schools, local law enforcement leaders, elected officials and community advocates.
The forum and panel discussion will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Ashburn Station, located at 20272 Savin Hill Drive.
Moderated by Chapman (R), the panel will include include:
-U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R)
-Tom Carr, director of Baltimore-Washington HIDTA
-Richard Fiano, a former DEA chief
-James Plowman (R), Loudoun County commonwealth’s attorney
-Karl C. Colder, Colder Allied Consulting, LLC., and a retired DEA worker
-John Whitbeck, family practice attorney
-Melissa Hinton, community recovery advocate with Project Loudoun Serenity House
-Michelle Petruzzello of Loudoun County Mental Health and and Substance Abuse
-Blaise Carland, licensed clinical social worker with Loudoun County Public Schools
Residents will also hear from Middleburg resident Rick Collette, who was part of the Community Foundation of Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties' Faces of Loudoun campaign to raise awareness about opioid addiction in our own backyard. After losing his wife to cancer, Collette's daughter turned to medication for an escape from her grief. In March of 2016, she died from an overdose at age 25.
The forum and roundtable discussion is part of the regional Heroin Operations Team (HOT) formed in April 2015. HOT employs a comprehensive approach that includes enforcement at all levels, education, prevention, and treatment by incorporating local, state and federal law enforcement.
In 2017, Loudoun County saw a decrease in both opioid overdoses and overdose deaths, according to the sheriff's office.