Discussions to open dialogue on opioid use

Public can register for educational sessions aimed at reducing stigma

A series of upcoming community meetings across Grays Harbor County will open a dialogue on opioid use disorder with hopes to address stigma and educate the public about supporting people who use or are in recovery.

Grays Harbor and Pacific County Public Health departments partnered with the University of Rochester Medicine Recovery Center of Excellence to organize three community discussions in late May. Tedra Cobb, a consultant and former congressional candidate from New York, will facilitate the conversations, which, through interactive prompts and videos, are meant to draw opinions and perspectives from those in attendance, exploring ways to reduce stigma around opioid use disorder.

The program was developed by the University of Rochester recovery center with funding from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency.

Grays Harbor County Public Health initially reached out to key partners in local governments, public safety, social service and behavioral health organizations with the first opportunity to participate in the events. While space at each event is limited, as of May 8 there were still 30 spots available for registration to any members of the public interested in attending. Each event is free of charge.

The series of conversations will culminate in Montesano with a “train the trainer” session — “an opportunity for community members to learn how to take this training back to their workplaces or community groups to encourage open and honest conversation around stigma,” according to Wilma Weber, community health specialist with public health. The workshop is also free of charge and open to anyone who already attended one of the previous community conversations, and registration is required.

Weber said the education series addresses recommendations around anti-stigma education recently published in public health’s Behavioral Health Gap Analysis.

The first two discussions will both take place on May 24: the first at Westport Winery from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by a no-host lunch, and the second at Quinault Wellness Center from 3 to 5 p.m. An optional tour of the wellness center will take place from 2:30 to 3 p.m. before the second session.

Summit Pacific Medical Center will host the third session on May 25 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by the “train the trainer” workshop in Montesano from 1:45 to 4:15 p.m.

To attend, register at forms.office.com/g/frDiPhFPjp.

Contact reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or clayton.franke@thedailyworld.com.