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South Phoenix community unites to tackle fentanyl crisis

photo of fentanyl
Fentanyl is associated with a high risk of overdose due to its potency. Efforts have been made to address the crisis through public health initiatives, law enforcement actions and community outreach. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
Spanish language forum takes center stage in fentanyl crisis
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Equality Health Foundation in collaboration with The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is hosting a community forum in Spanish to raise awareness of the fentanyl and opioid crisis in south Phoenix.

The forum will be held Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 1375 E Broadway Road in Phoenix.

The event will open with remarks from County Attorney Rachel Mitchell followed by an expert panel to include MCAO Prosecutor Hermelinda Garcia; Terros Health Center Director Ray Young; and community members Ronnie Morales and Martha Ayala.

The panel will be moderated by Heidi Renpenning, who serves as news anchor for Univision Arizona.

Ms. Garcia will provide a criminal justice perspective, current fentanyl drug trends and insight into how the MCAO prosecutes drug related cases.

Ronnie Morales, with his mother, Martha, will share their story about battling opioid addiction and a parent’s perspective. Mr. Young will provide insight into understanding substance abuse, the importance of mental health and why fentanyl is so addictive.

“My office has seen the devastating effects the fentanyl crisis has had on our community. Our teens, who are most affected by this crisis, don’t know what fentanyl is or how deadly it can be,” shared Ms. Mitchell. “We owe it to them to be informed. While one pill can kill, one conversation can save a life.”

The opioid crisis in Arizona is a significant public health concern, law enforcement officials report.

Fentanyl is associated with a high risk of overdose due to its potency. Efforts have been made to address the crisis through public health initiatives, law enforcement actions and community outreach.

“It is our priority to ensure that every community has equitable access to well-being programs and initiatives focused on prevention, education and treatment of opioid addiction,” said Tomas Leon, president of Equality Health Foundation. “Everyone in our multicultural community deserves the opportunity to lead long and healthy lives.”

A variety of community organizations will also be present to share education, resources and provide free Narcan for participants to take home with them.

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