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Two Anderson County churches join the fight against the opioid crisis

Together First Presbyterian Church and Oak Valley Baptist Church want to take on the opioid crisis.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Sunday marked the first of a series of opioid forums in Oak Ridge. 

Community volunteer Rosalyn Ice said after realizing the impact of opioids on a national level she started to wonder about her own community. 

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"My question always was what is happening in Anderson County and that was the question of my friends too," Ice said.

That one question led to a partnership between First Presbyterian and Oak Valley Baptist to facilitate three community forums centered around different aspects of the epidemic. Sunday's conversation took a look at criminal justice and the system itself. 

"We don't let problems fester under the surface, we talk about them then we take action," Ice said. 

Part of the forum's action plan included Anderson County District Attorney General David Clark, who helped provide a law enforcement perspective.

"In Anderson County, we've managed to reduce crime by 40 percent and it is largely in part by our citizens who are informed," Clark said. 

However, what started as a conversation, blossomed into a safe space as attendees started sharing their own experiences and those of loved ones. 

"It's always rewarding when we get to that point where we are being forthcoming," Clark said. 

Ice said the forum is just a testament to the power of talking, listening and accepting.

"This affects people all across Anderson County, across socioeconomic backgrounds it affects people of all walks of life," she said. 

The next forum will focus on recovery and will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the fellowship hall of the Sanctuary building at First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge.