B'ham roundtable event tackles statewide opioid crisis

Sen. Doug Jones opioid roundtable

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The opioid crisis in Alabama took center stage in Birmingham on Friday when Senator Doug Jones took part in s roundtable discussion at the United Way office.

Representatives of law enforcement, doctors, pharmacies and drug counselors all took part.

In Jefferson County last year there about 200 deaths due to drug overdoses. Jones is backing s bill in Congress that he amended to help addicts get workforce training.

The democratic lawmaker said education is key but drugs have to be made available to help addicts.

"We have to do something and deal with overdosing. We can see right now not just over overdoses, but people moving from opioids into heroin," Jones said.

Chris Retan with the drug treatment group Aletheia House is seeking to offer counseling.

"What we know of treatment in Alabama is we don't have enough treatment where people can get counseling, the medicine to help with heroin or opioid addiction," Retan said.

One thing learned during the roundtable is Alabama was the only state to Barca collaborative effort between doctors and pharmacies. The group agrees those barriers need to be removed.

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