SPC Forum Focuses on Opioid Crisis
Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing 59,000 people in 2016, a 19 percent increase over 2015, forum organizers said.
SEMINOLE – The St. Petersburg College public forum on the opioid crisis that was canceled Sept. 7 because of Hurricane Irma has been rescheduled.
The forum, titled The Drug Epidemic: How Opioids Became a Death Machine, will be from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Digitorium of SPC’s Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. It is sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College in partnership with the Drug Free America Foundation. Admission is free, but advance registration is requested at solutions.spcollege.edu.
The forum will feature the same panel members who were originally scheduled to address the causes of the opioid epidemic and seek consensus on solutions::
· Major David Danzig, bureau commander, Investigative Operations Bureau, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
· Reta Newman, director, Pinellas County Forensic Laboratory, District Six Medical Examiner
· Amy Ronshausen, deputy director, Drug Free America Foundation
· Dr. Michael Sheehan, Medical Director, Operation PAR
Moderator will be Dr. Susan Demers, dean of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies for St. Petersburg College.
Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing 59,000 people in 2016, a 19 percent increase over 2015. Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for those under age 50; overdose deaths were nearly equal to the number of deaths from car crashes.
Gov. Rick Scott in May declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in Florida. Opioids were responsible for the deaths of 3,896 Floridians in 2015 – roughly 12 percent of the nationwide toll.
Besides being a human tragedy, the overdose epidemic represents a severe financial blow to local government. County morgues are overloaded with the bodies of overdose victims, and medical examiners can’t keep up with the demand for autopsies to determine cause of death. The budgets of first-responders are maxed out paying for the anti-overdose drug Naloxone, which if administered in time can save the lives of overdose victims.
And, the drug epidemic destroys families. With the majority of the overdose victims in their 20s and 30s, the children neglected or orphaned by an addicted or overdosed parent overwhelm the child welfare system.
The panel will address reasons why opioids have become such a menace to a healthy society, the role of pharmaceutical companies in marketing painkillers with such addictive qualities, and what the courts and law enforcement can do to stop the opioid epidemic.
St. Petersburg College | Forum | Opioids | Drug Abuse | Tampabay News | TB Reporter
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