QUINCY -- The Rev. Jerry Jenkins, a longtime crusader against various forms of drug addiction, is coordinating a conference targeting the opioid crisis.
The seminar, titled "Addiction Free in Christ," is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 21, at the Quincy Senior and Family Resource Center, 639 York.
The event is free to the public and will allow guest to take part in a question-and-answer session.
"We just want to educate people," Jenkins said. "People just seem so numb today about a situation like this. It is so sad. These opioids are a different world.
"(Opioid addicts) are not your average drug addict ... these are mostly people who have become addicted by following medical procedures."
Medically, many of the drugs that fall within the opioid family are used primarily for pain relief and can be extremely addictive. Opioids are both physically and psychologically addictive.
Over the past decade, opioid abuse has blossomed into a full-fledged, nationwide epidemic.
Information supplied by U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, plus the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show the following numbers:
º 2.4 million: The number of Americans addicted to opioids, which include prescription pain medications such as Vicodin and Percocet, along with illicit cousins, such as heroin.
º 64,000: The number of Americans who died from opioids and other drugs last year, nearly twice the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
º 500,000-plus: The number of drug overdose deaths since 2000, nearly 300,000 more than the number of murders involving guns. Illinois opioid-related deaths have increased 12.4 percent in the last year, Missouri 10.4 percent.
"We'll be trying to educate the public," said Jenkins, 83, who served with Addicts Victorious for 29 years prior to moving two years ago to Addiction Free in Christ.
The seminar is open to the public at no charge, but preregistration is required due to limited seating. Those planning to attend are asked to text or call 217-617-5577, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.