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The opioid epidemic:Community seminar address use, misuse and addiction among adolescents

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East Grand Forks police officer Nick Gunderson discusses what community action can be taken in the fight against opioid abuse.

A growing crisis surrounding regional drug use has prompted members of the community to open a dialogue addressing the dangers of substance abuse and which types of drugs are gaining local traction.

Thursday, representatives from the East Grand Forks Police Department, Polk County Public Health and Sanford Health met to host a community seminar on opioid use, misuse and addiction in East Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

“It truly is an epidemic,” said Dr. Lisa Jamsa, a Sanford family medicine specialist.

Opioids are primarily found in the form of prescription drugs, such as morphine, Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin. Jamsa explained that synthetic opioids such as these were developed for the medical treatment of pain, and while the active ingredients work to relieve pain, it is the side effects— such as a feeling of euphoria— that become easily addictive.

“It takes very little stimuli to get that gas pedal going,” she said of rapid addiction. “That’s what makes it so dangerous.”

The complete story can be found in this week’s edition of The Exponent

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