Harlan County Drug Summit returns

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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The Harlan County Drug Summit is returning to the Harlan Center on Jan. 12, following a three-year absence due to the pandemic.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley shed some light on the specifics of the event.

“It’s the second summit that we’ve had,” Mosley said. “We had one in 2019. It was a great event that really homed in on the drug problem that faces our community and every community.”

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Mosley explained the original intent was to make the Drug Summit an annual event. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible.

“This year, we decided to bring it back,” Mosley said. “We started working on it a couple months ago.”

Mosley said the summit’s goal is to educate the community about the drug problems that exist, have a dialogue concerning possible solutions, and showcase treatment and recovery resources available locally.

“We’re very excited about this summit,” Mosley said. “A lot of things have changed related to this problem. There have been some alarming statistics relating to fentanyl.” 

According to Mosley, fentanyl is responsible for one death every five minutes in the United States.

“People need to be aware of that,” Mosley said. “There have been more people killed in the United States from fentanyl overdoses in 2022 than by guns and car accidents combined. It’s alarming, and it’s right here in our backyard.”

Mosley pointed out the county is financially responsible for transportation costs for certain autopsies.

“Last month on our bills list, there were more autopsy transports than I can recall since I’ve been serving in this role (as Harlan County Judge-Executive),” Mosley said. 

Mosley noted many of those transports were overdose deaths.

“Fentanyl is out there, and we’ve got to educate our community and make people aware of what’s going on,” Mosley said. “I feel like this summit is the best opportunity to do that.”

The event will feature multiple exhibitions and speakers throughout the day.

“We’ll have a wide array of exhibitors that do different things related to the drug problem,” Mosley said.

The Harlan County Drug Summit is open to all who wish to attend.

“Anybody who is concerned about the drug epidemic and wants to be part of the solution should make plans to attend this event,” Mosley said. “If you have a business or your church does something related to helping folks with treatment or some type of recovery support, you should consider registering to be an exhibitor.”

Mosley said the Harlan County Drug Summit may become an annual occurrence.

“I encourage people to attend,” Mosley said. “The exhibits open at 9 a.m., the program will begin at 10 a.m., lunch is going to be provided… we’ll wrap up around 4 p.m. It should be a great way to learn more about the problem and try to find some solutions.”

There is no fee to attend the event or register as an exhibitor. 

To register to attend the Harlan County Drug Summit or for more information, contact the Harlan County Judge-Executive’s Office at 606-573-2600.