Rutherford County officials are scheduled to hold a town hall forum on opioid abuse and mental health issues at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Smyrna’s Parkway Baptist Church.
Rutherford County Commissioner Craig Harris, one of the scheduled panelists, told The Tennessee Star Monday that the problem has hit his county particularly hard, as it ranks No. 4 statewide for overdoses.
“I’ve seen the problem firsthand. I know it firsthand. I’ve dealt with it firsthand. Yeah. I’ve see the ugliness of it. I’ve helped parents go through neighborhoods looking for their kids. I have buried kids. I have seen things that will turn your stomach,” Harris said.
“There’s finding kids with needles in their arms. Kids disappear, and then you can’t find them. Then you find them in the worst place. You see them in jail. You see mothers crying. You see the horror it brings. Everyone says they know someone in this, but to see the true horror of it is something most people don’t see and they don’t want to see it.”
Another scheduled panelist, State Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, said he and other people will discuss how the problem of opioid abuse affects all demographics throughout Tennessee, especially youth.
Harris, meanwhile, said the problem of opioid abuse is a lot more complex than people might think.
“No one starts off wanting to be a heroin addict. Most of the addicts — other than the ones that were injured and got prescriptions from being injured — usually started smoking, drinking, or using marijuana between the ages of 13 and 15,” Harris said.
“A lot of them start drinking and smoking — ‘The Big Three’ is what we call them — at young ages, so that is why I am targeting that age.”
Other scheduled panelists include:
• Judge Barry Tidwell
• Deputy Chief Egon Grissom
• Laurissa Garlington of the Mental Health Cooperative
• Faith-Based Initiatives Director Monty Burks
• Director of Drug Court Steve Ervin
• Marquinta Harvey of The Fearless Campaign
Parkway Baptist Church is located at 1715 Lee Victory Parkway in Smyrna.
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