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Opioid forum brings community together

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says Kentucky is one of the hardest hit states in the country--with the third highest mortality rate. 11 at 11's Ana Rivera spoke with Beshear and those affected by the epidemic.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – At this point, most people have been affected by addiction. We've lost friends, family and loved ones. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, community members came together to have tough conversations about what's happening and what everyone can do to stop this epidemic.

“It's important to show that even on the most beautiful of days, people are suffering,” Major Brittney Garrett, Jeffersontown Police Department said.

Major Garrett is on the front lines battling the opioid epidemic consuming the community. But her uniform and badge can't protect her from the pain it causes.

“Unfortunately last month my cousin overdosed and died. And it's very frustrating to be in this line of work and know that this is still happening,” Major Garrett said.

She says that's why forums like this are so important.

“I'm just grateful to God to have the chance to be sober and become a better man,” Michael Mickel, who battled addiction, said.

Mickel says he's battled addiction his entire life. It took a two-year prison sentence to get him sober. He says he appreciates these tough conversations that could save lives.

“We fight it all day every day to try to stay sober and without the help and resources that people provide it's just a losing battle,” Mickel said.

Attorney General Andy Beshear spoke at the forum. His message: you are not alone.

“We've got to do everything we can to help and not judge and to ultimately get Kentucky back to a place where we are healthy, drug-free, and when we can do that, the sky is truly the limit for this state,” Beshear said.

Beshear says a big problem is how accessible prescription drugs are. He says people should make sure they’re properly disposing of their prescription medications.

►Contact reporter Ana Rivera at krivera@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Ana) and Facebook.

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