PDCCC to present second annual opioid symposium

STEPHEN FALESKI/STAFF WRITER
The Tidewater News
 
On Thursday, June 28, Paul D. Camp Community College’s nursing class of 2019 will present the school’s second annual symposium on opioid addiction. This will be held at the Workforce Development Center from 6 to 8 p.m.
 
The event will feature a showing of the documentary “Chasing the Dragon” and a panel of guest speakers. Speakers who have agreed to participate include Del. Emily Brewer (R-64); H. Harvey, a recovering addict; and Michael Dail, an opiate awareness advocate.
 
“The purpose of the Symposium is to shed a light on the current opioid crisis in the United States and the state of Virginia,” said PDCCC nursing student Tori Ricks. “The misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The event aims to spotlight legislators who are working endlessly to help fight the misuse and addiction to opioids as well as give recovering addicts, opiate awareness advocates and individuals who have lost loved ones to opioids the opportunity to speak and share their stories on the devastating problem within our local communities, county and country.”
 
Ricks added that she and the entire nursing class of 2019 are involved in the symposium — a total of around 30 students.
 
“The symposium is actually something that was started by last year’s PDCCC RN nursing students as a mental awareness project during the semester of studying Psychiatric Nursing and Mental Health,” Ricks said.
 
The nursing class has also invited representatives of local law enforcement, fire, emergency services and health departments from the cities of Franklin and Suffolk, as well as Isle of Wight and Southampton counties to hand out literature. Representatives of Affinity Healthcare, the methadone clinic that opened in the Airway Shopping Center last year, have also been invited.
 
The nursing class’s research revealed that in 2016, there were two opioid overdose deaths reported in Southampton County. According to the event flier, every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016.