Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Prescription Drug Abuse: Legal Epidemic That's Devastating Your Town, Your Neighborhood, Your Home

For those who suffer illness or injury, medications that relieve debilitating pain are miracles of
modern science. But the dark side of the miracles looms larger and more dangerous than anyone could have predicted just a decade ago.

Nationally and locally, we face rampant epidemics of both opioid addiction and overdose - not of street drugs acquired in back alleys, but of medications prescribed for legitimate reasons by trusted doctors.

So, how did we get here? More importantly, what can we do about this health crisis that is devastating families and communities, taxing an over-stressed health care system, and threatening public safety?

These questions and more will be examined from the medical, social, and legislative perspectives on Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m. in a special Rhode Island PBS production, Prescription Drug Abuse on Community Conversations. Panelists will also take questions from the studio audience during this live broadcast.

United States Senator for Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse will discuss the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act he coauthored with Senator Ron Portman of Ohio.

“In Rhode Island, I’ve seen addiction touch people in all walks of life, reach communities big and small, and claim far too many lives,” Senator Whitehouse said upon the bill’s passage. “This bill treats addiction like the illness it is. The bill will help states give law enforcement officers, health care providers, family members, and all those on the front lines of this battle a better shot at success,” said Whitehouse.

Also on the panel will be Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., chief medical officer at the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH); Papatya Tankut, R.Ph. vice president of pharmacy affairs at CVS Health; and Fred Trapassi, Jr., vice president of Rhode Island programming at Phoenix House. The moderator will be Nicole Muri from Rhode Island PBS.

The public is invited to be in the studio audience to watch the live broadcast at Rhode Island PBS, 50 Park Lane in Providence, RI. Space is limited and advance reservations are required. Interested public may register through visit Light refreshments will be served at 7 p.m. before the broadcast from 8 - 9 p.m.

Prescription Drug Abuse is made possible by CVS Health, and is a presentation of Community Conversations, a Rhode Island PBS public affairs series about issues that impact our individual and collective well-being and quality of life in Rhode Island.