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Town hall on opioid crisis will be held at MAHS on May 30

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A town hall meeting focused on the heroin/opioid crisis will be held at Middletown Area High School on Tuesday, May 30.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m., said Cheryl Dondero, director of Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services.

The event is the fourth in a series of public meetings on the heroin/opioid crisis that Dauphin County has been hosting throughout the county.

The county held a town hall in Lower Dauphin Middle School in October 2016. Two more were held in Elizabethville and in Middle Paxton Township in April, Dondero said.

The purpose of the town hall is to provide a “one-stop” place where people can go to get information regarding the resources available in the community regarding the heroin/opioid epidemic.

For example, agencies that provide support, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery to those addicted to heroin and other opiates will have information at the town hall on how people can access their services.

The town hall is intended to provide a “safe place free of stigma and judgement” where not just addicts, but their friends and families who are also being impacted by the crisis, can find out about these services and resources and how to access them, Dondero said.

“One in four families in Middletown and everywhere else is directly dealing” with the heroin/opioid crisis in one form or another, she added.

In addition, two organizations that are focused on the heroin/opioid crisis in the Middletown area — Fighting Addiction Middletown Style, or FAMS, and the I Care Foundation — will have information tables set up at the event, Dondero said.

FAMS in particular has had a dramatic impact in bringing to light the heroin/opioid crisis in the greater Middletown area.

Founded in late March by two grandmothers who used Facebook to spread the word, FAMS quickly drew the attention of police, local and state elected officials, and the Middletown Area School District and school board. It holds monthly public meetings every first Monday of the month at the Londonderry Fire Hall.

“The (Middletown area) community is very mobilized right now, with the two vocal groups and a rash of overdoses in the area,” Dondero said. “I’m betting we are going to get a couple hundred people because of the two groups. They are fired up to do something about the opioid epidemic.”

Dondero said district Superintendent Lori Suski is also on the county Drug and Alcohol Advisory Committee.

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