The Cherokee Nation, the city of Tahlequah, Tahlequah Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, addiction experts, and several other community partners are working with the nationally recognized OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery to address an Opioid Epidemic Response to the alarming overuse of opioid painkillers.
A seven-day event will run Monday-Sunday, July 22-28, in the Cherokee County Community Building, 908 S. College Ave.
Community resource booths and workshops will be open daily at to help educate Oklahomans about the opioid epidemic, alternative pain treatments, red flags of addiction, the co-dependency of opioid use, tobacco and mental illness' effect on opioid use, parenting children of addiction, and much more.
Free food and door prizes will be available will supplies last, and a science and art activity tables will be set up for children in grades K-12.
Continuing education credit opportunities are available.
The Opioid Epidemic Response is part of a $1.4 million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and is designed to combat the misuse of opioid painkillers in Oklahoma.
"The purpose of the Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together a broad spectrum of community members, health care providers, addiction experts and civic and business leaders to learn about this crisis and how to fight it," said Julie Croff, executive director of OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery.
Oklahoma is the epicenter of the nation's opioid epidemic. In Cherokee County alone, 30 people died of unintentional prescription opioid overdose from 2013 to 2017, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The opioid prescription rate for Cherokee County was 21 percent higher than the state rate.
An estimated 1,900 Oklahomans have died from opioid abuse. The estimated cost to address the epidemic in Oklahoma is $17 billion dollars. Rural and tribal communities have been hardest hit.
For a schedule of events and to register for the free community event, visit health.okstate.edu/cwr.