Hyde County will hold a community meeting on opioid abuse prevention at 6 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 19) in the Ocracoke Community Center.

The national opioid/drug abuse crisis that hit home June 1 in Hyde County when the State Bureau of Investigation charged Tiffaney Webber, 25, of Engelhard, with two counts of murder after preliminary results showed that fentanyl was contained in illegal drugs that Webber provided June 1 to victims Ryan Edward Gibbs, 23, and Sarah David Reams, 16, both of Fairfield.

Gibbs was the son of Luanna Gibbs, Hyde County Health Dept. director,

This tragedy prompted the task force, which first met July 13 in Swan Quarter to brainstorm what the county needs to address drug abuse and to deliver more overall drug-prevention education and treatment options to the Hyde County community.

The opioid epidemic affects everyone without regard to economic status, age, race or gender, said a press release from Hyde County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of drug overdose deaths in North Carolina last year increased by over 14 percent in the one-year period between 2014 and 2015.

The task force goals are as follows:

  • To create and implement a comprehensive education/prevention program;
  • To identify treatment options, identify barriers to treatment, work towards creation of more treatment resources and methods to open treatment to those in need;
  • Support the efforts of the Hyde County Sheriff in getting drug dealers off the streets

The Ocracoke meeting among several in all five townships to educate citizens on the signs and symptoms of opioid abuse, to share information on current treatment resources available and to gather input from citizens in regard to this fight.

This public input will be combined with the information already gathered to move forward in planning and implementing a program.

“We truly need the input and support of our residents to ensure these efforts are a success,” the press release said.

Hyde County also will create a web page that will contain these resources and where citizens will be able to sign up for email updates on the progress of the group.

To subscribe to receive updates and all other county information please, email Hyde County PIO Donnie Shumate at dshumate@hydecountync.gov and ask to be put on the Hyde Happenings distribution list.

Information will also be posted on the county website and social media outlets.

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