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Local officials join forces to fight opioid abuse

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.--  Local health and law enforcement officials are committing to work together to fight opioid abuse in St. Joseph County.

Community leaders, law enforcement officials, first responders, and  local medical representatives held a joint press conference on Wednesday to address opioid addiction and abuse.

“Patients aren’t safe and physicians aren’t safe after what we saw last week, and that needs to change,” says Dr. Mark Thompson with General Vascular Surgery.

Last week, Dr. Todd Graham was gunned down outside his medical office. Officials say he was murdered by the husband of a patient who was denied pain medication.

“It opened a lot of people’s eyes that we need to talk more,” says St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter.

From the physicians prescribing the pills to the first responders rescuing addicts, many local departments and organizations have been working independently on the opioid crisis. By opening up the dialogue and sharing insights and concerns, they hope to work towards a solution.

“What is the best and most appropriate way of dealing with this problem, coming together I think we get that synergy. Without it I think we’re working cross purposes,” says Cotter.

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