Project Lazarus offers free dinner

Published 5:46 pm Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sheriff’s office officials will consider the extent of the drug problem in Polk County when Project Lazarus offers a special dinner and presentation on Jan. 22 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Isothermal Community College Polk Center. After law enforcement experts provide data, everyone present will be encouraged to brainstorm solutions.

“Project Lazarus utilizes experience, data, and compassion to empower communities and individuals to prevent drug overdoses, provide effective substance abuse treatment and meet the needs of those living with chronic pain,” said Marjorie Vestal, program coordinator.

The project uses a community based approach to encourage drug prevention and opioid safety.

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North Carolina has a higher than average rate of unintentional drug overdoses caused by misuse of prescription drugs. These drugs, like methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, hydomorphone, or tramadol, may ease chronic pain, cancer, and many ailments, but they can be toxic if taken to excess.

From 1999 to 2007, accidental overdose rates doubled in North Carolina.

“As we kick-off this important project, we would like to include Polk County people who have been affected by prescription drug misuse or overdose in any way: grandparents, educators, pharmacists, medical providers, clergy, counselors, parents and friends,” Vestal said.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend this free dinner of local foods, Vestal said, and reservations may be made by calling 828-894-8271, ext. 222, or emailing

The dinner will include a speech by Fred Wells Brason II, CEO of Project Lazarus, website