Health & Environment

Film Screening, Panel Talk Brings Local Awareness Of Opioid Crisis

September 12, 2018

The Trade

By Tamim Choudhury, Texas A&M University Health Science Center

September is National Recovery Month designed to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders. As the American people face the opioid crisis, the Texas A&M Health Science Center Opioid Task Force is calling attention to how Texans experience and address these issues. A film screening and panel discussion will be held at the Forum Theater in Rudder Tower at Texas A&M University on Wednesday, September 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The screening of an episode of Showtime’s The Trade, will be followed by a panel discussion with local experts who will share their perspectives.

The Trade is a five-episode series that shines a spotlight the opioid crisis in America, including the suppliers, law enforcement and those addicted to opioids.

“We are raising awareness and reducing stigma, as people often don’t reach out for assistance because they don’t know where there is help or because they are reluctant to seek help,” said Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH, chair of the Opioid Task Force. “We are sponsoring this event to discuss the impact on families and communities, and examining it from a public health perspective.”

Panelists will include experts who deal with the opioid crisis from various perspectives, from addiction to treatment to law enforcement. “We need a collaborative health science center strategy, an all hands-on-deck approach to solving this crisis,” Ory said.

Andrew Gianotti, MD, addiction medicine specialist with Symetria; Kit Wright, LVN, CCHP, sergeant at Brazos County Sheriff’s Office; and Cindy Soltis, director of the Department of State Health Services Intervention and Treatment Servicesat the Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse will participate in the panel. Additionally, there will be a person in recovery who will share a personal story. The panelists will be taking questions from the audience on their role in combatting the epidemic, how it impacts the opioid epidemic, recommendations for solutions, and barriers to solving this public health emergency.

Starting a week prior to the screening, an opioid reflection wall will be displayed across Texas A&M University. The mobile wall will be moved to multiple campus locations so that the community can write messages of experiences and support. Opioid Task Force student ambassadors will be present at the wall to provide information.

“The screening and panel discussion are meant to engage our community; we are encouraging not only the university but also the community at large to participate,” Ory said. “We can have the biggest impact with collective action from all sectors.”

Those interested in attending the free screening and panel discussion are asked to register.

This article by Tamim Choudhury originally appeared in Vital Record.

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