An effort to prevent prescription pill abuse in the mountains took place on Saturday, October 24, through a national drug take-back day. The Partnership for Substance Free Youth teamed up with local law enforcement to host the drive-through medicine drop.

Buncombe County Government hosted a “Let’s Talk COVID-19” Zoom event. ABFM (Asheville Buncombe Futures Movement) and other high school students shared their experiences during the pandemic.

From stressing out about heavy workloads with little instruction time to how they’re finding support and respite during a school year knocked off the rails by COVID-19, local students talked the ins and outs of life under the virus during a Zoom call hosted by Buncombe County Wednesday.

At the latest edition of Buncombe County Government’s “Let’s Talk COVID-19” virtual town hall series, a handful of area high school students focused on the impact of the pandemic in their lives, sharing their new daily routine, their concerns and their hopes for a world beyond the virus.

Hosted by Zo Mpofu, and human services program consultant with Buncombe County and Buncombe Early College Senior Ben Friedman, the program asked students first what their day-to-day schedules look like under virtual learning.

“I was impressed, humbled and really inspired,” Mpofu said. “I think hearing from the students was really one of the unique moments of hope recently.”

Mission Health hosted an opioid take-back event covering five locations on Saturday, Oct. 24, to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse as well as proper disposal of medications.,Mission%20Health%20to%20hold%20’anonymous%2C%20safe’%20opioid%20take%20back,24&text=ASHEVILLE%2C%20N.C.%20(WLOS)%20%E2%80%94,as%20proper%20disposal%20of%20medications.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. is seeing an increase in opioid usage, with 40 states reporting increases in opioid-related mortality, according to the American Medical Association.

“Stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the opioid crisis by causing many Americans to have feelings of anxiety, grief, isolation, financial worry, and an ongoing sense of uncertainty, affecting those with substance use disorders as well as those at risk of developing one,” said William Hathaway, chief medical officer of the North Carolina Division of HCA Healthcare.

“Now is more important than ever to get unused pain medications out of homes and to educate the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. suffered from an opioid use disorder and more than 67,000 Americans died from drug overdoses.