Panelists and experts meet for 3rd annual Opioid Summit in Raleigh

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Thursday, October 6, 2022
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Experts and advocates meet for virtual panel Thursday as part of the first night of the 3rd annual Opioid Summit.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Jennifer Maneely never knew she needed artwork, but it has empowered her and given her the strength to get through more than 15 years in recovery.

"It's been a whole lot of deep internal work to really kind of just understand what was going on for me deep down, how I was talking to myself, what kind of shame I was experiencing and what kept holding me back," she said.

Jennifer spoke on a virtual panel Thursday as part of the first night of the 3rd annual Opioid Summit.

Panelists varied from experts on Rainbow Fentanyl to someone from Georgetown to help individuals and families better understand their rights.

"I'm passionate about saving lives, I'm passionate about people understanding people and I know that when we do, we won't stand in the way of this crisis," said Marilyn Shannon, founder of the non-profit PRISM or the People's Recovery Initiative for Solutions and More.

For example, she wants there to be more recovery friendly workplaces and get industries to accept people in recovery.

"When you think about it, it impacts in so many different ways," said Bob Bedi, who helped organize the summit. "It affects employment, it affects housing, so many things."

Earlier in the year, Attorney General Josh Stein announced the state would be getting $750 million to fight the opioid crisis.

It's unclear where that money is going as of Thursday.

Stein will be speaking at the summit Friday.

"There are multiple strategies that can help bend the trajectory toward less loss of life and more people being healthy, well and in recovery," said Chris Budnick, Executive Director of Healing Transitions.

Budnick knows there isn't a quick fix and it takes partners from all over including those in law enforcement to make a dent in the problem.

He said one of the quick solutions is to get people on methadone before they leave a detention center.

Durham County has already initiated this.

"We can come together as a community and say we want to help and I think that community aspect is essential, and I think it takes everyone," said Jennifer, who came in from Asheville for the event.

The summit will run through Saturday.