May 29, 2024 – “What we have to understand is that with our growing knowledge of how the brain is affected in people with substance use disorders, is that fear or scolding is rarely an effective tool to help people decide it’s time to seek medical attention and counseling to help them address their substance use disorder. It rarely ever works. Combest commended the state for getting the pills off the streets, as well as spreading fentanyl testing strips and Narcan, but advised there isn’t a clear-cut solution to this problem.

“So I’m strongly in support of needing to educate and teach people the dangers. We need to teach them what to look for, we need to teach them how easy it is to die from this. We need to discuss how everyone should have Narcan, everyone should consider fentanyl test strips if they are choosing to use substances that derive from the street.”

When asked if she saw a solution to what she referred to as a “mass poisoning,” Combest said, “not in the foreseeable future.”

“I think it’s gonna take a lot of work for us to move past this. If we think about the fact that heroin has been used by human populations, not for a few years, but really for centuries around the world. It takes a long time to work through these things, I think that we’re in for a long road.”