The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has filed a federal lawsuit seeking damages from 23 companies that manufacture or distribute opioid drugs. Listing a total of seven counts, the suit alleges violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act as well as negligence, conspiracy, fraud and creation of a public nuisance.

Limiting the number of prescriptions written for addictive painkillers like Percocet and Oxycontin is definitely a good start, but addiction specialists say it is just the beginning of solving the opioid epidemic in this country.

Services are available for those suffering from substance abuse through the following providers in Western North Carolina:

The opioid problem has been bubbling underneath the surface for over a decade, but the issue has now reached a roaring boil as the medical community, law enforcement, families who have lost loved ones and politicians are taking action to address the problem.

Even though the research shows that medication-assisted management for opioid addiction is the most successful treatment method, the prevailing stigma associated with methadone and other opioid medications is still preventing people from seeking the help they need.

Brendan Bishop is more than just the manager of Haywood Vapor, located at the corner of Dellwood City Road and Russ Avenue in Waynesville.

On any given day, the Haywood County Detention Center is full of people suffering from substance abuse and/or mental illness — to the point where Sheriff Greg Christopher said it sometimes feels like his staff is running a mental health facility as opposed to a jail.

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $480,963 grant that will allow the department to hire four full-time patrol deputies to strengthen their ability to fight crime and to protect the well being of citizens in the community.

Jean Parris of Canton has been telling anyone who will listen about the growing drug addiction problems facing Haywood County since 2011, which is when she helped form Drugs in Our Midst.

It’s impossible to talk about the mental health system in North Carolina without also discussing substance abuse and how the opioid crisis is impacting resources within the system.

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