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Elizabethtown College to Host Symposium on Opioid Epidemic

On Jan. 10, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a statewide disaster declaration to enhance state response, increase access to treatment and save lives to help strengthen the fight against addiction to heroin and other opioids. The declaration, the first-of-its-kind for a public health emergency in Pennsylvania, will utilize a command center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to track progress and enhance coordination of health and public safety agencies.

Considering that Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest overdose rate in the United States, Elizabethtown College presents a timely opioid symposium at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, in the College’s Esbenshade Hall. This symposium explores multiple aspects of the opioid issue including the science of why it is so addictive, how to help people overcome addiction and the impact it can have on a family.

Invited speakers are: Mary Dolheimer, a board member of York County’s ‘Not One More’ organization, which provides awareness, education and support to those affected by drug abuse and addiction. She will discuss the personal impacts that opioid addiction can have on loved ones; Kate Eberz, a social worker at the Naaman Center in Elizabethtown, who will discuss treatment issues. The Center facilitates the restoration of those caught up in the grip of drug and alcohol addictions and related mental health issues; Tom Hagan, an associate professor of biochemistry at Elizabethtown College, who will discuss the science of addiction and what makes opioids particularly addictive; E. Fletcher McClellan, a professor of political science at Elizabethtown College, who will discuss relevant policy issues that have inhibited and facilitated effective responses to this issue; and Gail Viscome, executive director at Elizabethtown Area Communities That Care, which uses research-based programs and services designed to nurture the physical and emotional well-being of youth and families and promote the prevention of drug, alcohol and substance abuse, bullying, truancy, school dropout, violence, teen pregnancy and other at-risk behaviors. She will discuss the work that they are doing in Elizabethtown and ways that people can be involved in helping to fight this epidemic.

After the panel discussion, there will be time for the audience members to ask questions on this devastating and headline-grabbing issue.

Cost of the symposium is free. Anyone who wants additional information may contact Susan Mapp, professor of social work and department chair at Elizabethtown College, at 717-361-3766 or mapps@etown.edu.

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