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Murphy honored for opioid work by attorney general

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Rep. Greg Murphy,R-Pitt, left, and N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein appeared together earlier this year to discuss efforts to combat the state's opioid crisis. On Tuesday Stein recognized Murphy and 10 others with his newly created Dogwood Awards.

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, November 23, 2017

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein recognized a Pitt County legislator for his efforts to confront the state’s opioid crisis.

Republican Rep. Greg Murphy was one of 11 people who received the newly created Dogwood Award from Stein on Tuesday. The award is an effort to honor North Carolinians “who are dedicated to keeping people safe, healthy and happy in their communities,” according to a news release from Stein’s office. All the recipients have contributed to the opioid fight.

“It is my distinct honor to highlight the work Rep. Murphy is doing for Pitt County and North Carolina,” Stein said during the announcement. “Today’s awards are a celebration of these people and their ideas – but it’s also a charge for all of us to continue to do more, keep innovating, and keep fighting for the thousands of North Carolinians struggling with addiction,” he said.

Murphy is the primary sponsor of the STOP Act, legislation signed by the governor this summer. It strengthens oversight and tightens supervision on opioid prescriptions, increases access to naloxone and allows local governments to support needle exchange programs.

Earlier this month Murphy, a urologist and surgeon, was appointed co-chairman of the Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Drug Convictions.

Murphy praised Stein for establishing the award, which Stein plans to make an annual recognition.

“The opioid problem is the No. 1 domestic problem facing our state and our nation, in my opinion. We’ve had a lot of stakeholders and it’s nice for him to recognize those individuals,” Murphy said.

Murphy said passage of the STOP act was a team effort. Stein met with law enforcement agencies across the state and worked on their concerns about enforcement of the rules and laws. A separate bill was introduced that made all forms of synthetic fentanyl illegal, Murphy said.

“I’ve said several times this piece of legislation and others like it has shown how government is suppose to work. We are seeing today very good examples of how government is not working. We need more of this bipartisan effort,” Murphy said.

Since taking office in January, Stein has convened roundtable discussions in 18 communities across the state to share local strategies and perspectives, according to a news release. He has also initiated an investigation into the role of manufacturers and distributors in creating the crisis.

The other award recipients include:

• Nash Police Chief Thomas Bashore

• Tessie Castillo, advocacy and communications Coordinator for the Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition

• Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan

• Dr. Blake Fagan, family physician and the chief education officer at the Mountain Area Health Education Center

• Chase Holleman, founder of the Guilford Naloxone Task Force

• Donald McDonald, executive director of the Addiction Professionals of North Carolina

• Heather Moore, founder of The Anchor Holds, a nonprofit organization that helps find substance use disorder treatment

• Brunswick County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis

• Cindy Patane and Vanessa Sapp, who co-founded of Sneads Ferry’s Heroin Opiate Prevention Education program after both women had sons die from opioid overdoses on the same day, April 7, 2016

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.

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