How did Ohio emerge as a national leader in opioid overdose deaths and other effects of mass addiction? Were there warning signs and, if so, how did we miss them? The themes in this section, and the conversations we hope they will stimulate, move beyond cause to assess both responsibility and blame. Some participants may blame themselves, while others may blame companies, government, cultures, economic decline, and their family lives. A more accurate picture requires that we embrace the complexity of growing opioid abuse and acknowledge that responsibility is multiple.
The opioid epidemic has led to increased scrutiny in the management of pain in the United States. New regulations have likely saved lives, but also risk alienating individuals who suffer from chronic pain and have seen their prescriptions curtailed. Using a patient narrative, participants will discuss the merits of using opioids for chronic pain as well as alternative therapies.
Using the experience of a former opioid addict, participants in this discussion will consider what role trauma plays in the development of addiction. In particular, the relationship between mental health and substance abuse will be explored.
This activity explores various approaches to grieving. Using the experience of a politician who lost a sibling to opioid abuse, participants will consider how grief can serve as a powerful motivator to strengthen communities and prevent future overdose deaths.