Each spring, the Universities at Shady Grove’s Office of Student Services (OSS), in collaboration with student organizations, hosts a Civic Engagement Series event that brings attention to a critical issue of interest to our community. Successful past events have focused on issues such as domestic violence, vaccine hesitancy, and human trafficking.
This year, OSS is partnering with Students Engaged in Public Health (SEIPH), APhA-ASP Generation Rx, Criminology and Criminal Justice Student Association (CRIMSA), and the Student Section of the Maryland Public Health Association (SMdPHA) to bring attention to the current opioid epidemic, which has become nothing short of a deadly, public health crisis. Just to give you some perspective, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the number of deaths related to heroin per year has increased by more than 5 times between 2010 and 2016, from 170 to 918. And the number of deaths related to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is much more potent than heroin, has increased by more than 23 times in that same time period, from 31 to 738. But that’s just Maryland. The epidemic has hit states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania even harder.
Rather than say more now about the state of this crisis and what’s driving the worsening of illicit and prescription opioid abuse, I’d like to encourage you to attend The Opioid Epidemic and Our Community: A Multidisciplinary Panel Discussion where experts we have invited will bring awareness to the urgency of this issue, as well as give the audience insight into what is currently being done and what still remains to be done in addressing it at the local, state, and federal levels. What our role can be in this as students, staff, and faculty will also be explored. Following the panel discussion, there will be a Q&A session as well as a resource fair featuring organizations that include The Tree House CAC of Montgomery County Maryland, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
We are so excited to be hosting this event (it falls perfectly during National Public Health Week too!) and intend for it to have a huge impact. Please extend this invitation to your friends and family, as all are welcome to attend!