Services are available for those suffering from substance abuse through the following providers in Western North Carolina:

The opioid problem has been bubbling underneath the surface for over a decade, but the issue has now reached a roaring boil as the medical community, law enforcement, families who have lost loved ones and politicians are taking action to address the problem.

While the Macon County League of Women Voters had to disband this year due to low membership and community involvement, the Asheville-Buncombe League is on the upward swing with a renewed enthusiasm from members and the community.

After a months’ long battle, Mission Health hospitals and its affiliates will be back in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s network as of Dec. 15.

I don’t really want to go into the domestic circumstances that led up to it, but even though I had no car, no money, no work and now, nowhere to live, I walked down our darkened driveway in the middle of the cold starry night with little more than the clothes on my back.

Worse than the dearth of resources, I had no social support structure, and with no real knowledge of the resources available to someone in a short-term housing crisis, there I was, standing in a Maggie Valley gas station mere moments into Thanksgiving Day, in a short-term housing crisis.

It’s impossible to talk about the mental health system in North Carolina without also discussing substance abuse and how the opioid crisis is impacting resources within the system.

Congressmen Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, and Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, introduced the Opioid Abuse Deterrence, Research and Recovery Act last week with hopes of tackling opioid addiction at the source.

At some point roughly 20 years ago, a shipment from Asia arrived in the United States with a passel of six-legged stowaways lurking in its wooden pallets. Since it was first detected near Detroit in 2002, the emerald ash borer has gnawed its way through ash trees across North America, leaving a swath of destruction across 31 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces — and counting.

The EAB was first spotted in North Carolina in 2013, when it was confirmed in Granville, Person, Vance and Warren counties, a contiguous area in the central part of the state bordering Virginia. Now it’s present in 33 of the state’s 100 counties and continues to spread. WNC counties with confirmed ash borer infestations are Haywood, Swain, Macon, Graham, Buncombe, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey counties — this month, the N.C. Forest Service found EAB on several trees in the Alarka area of Swain County after the beetle was initially found in Bryson City last summer.

An oral history project documenting African American history in the far western reaches of North Carolina is now a book, thanks to Waynesville’s Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center.

“I guess the motivation was because Haywood County just doesn’t have very much documented history of African Americans,” said Lyn Forney, the director of the Pigeon Center.

Asking for help is often the hardest step in the recovery process. Even after realizing you need help, it can be difficult to identify the problem and navigate your way through the mental health system.

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