State Representative Antonio Cabral is hosting a public forum Thursday night at the Whaling Museum to help citizens learn how to combat opioid addiction.

Rep. Cabral will be joined by members of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and a panel of experts, including New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro and representatives from organizations such as Seven Hills Behavioral Health and Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction.

Carl Alves, Executive Director of PAACA, says families need to "get healthy" as well as the addicted, in order to better understand addiction.

"Recovery is a process of self-awareness, whether it's a person that's struggling with addiction or co-dependency, or just trying to understand the behavior of a loved one," Alves said. "And understanding your role, and how your role impacts that person."

The forum will take place from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday night at the Whaling Museum. It will cover topics such as drug abuse prevention, medication storage and access to resources for individuals and families struggling with addiction.

"Everyone is welcome," Alves said. "We are trying to create a forum where people can get good information and some hope about the good things that are happening. We need to build an army, and it's all hands on deck to address this."