WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Wilkes University is preparing to host a virtual pain and addiction summit next week.
Overdose deaths are a national epidemic and a serious problem in Pennsylvania which experts say has only gotten more difficult to solve during the pandemic. Wilkes Pharmacy students who are part of the pharmacy student group Generation RX are helping raise awareness of the opioid epidemic.
The university has hosted the annual summit for several years. Like many events, last year’s summit was canceled but this year it is back on and will feature a familiar national addiction specialist.
As a nationally known addiction specialist, Dr. Drew Pinsky will bring his insights to the upcoming Pennsylvania Pain and Addiction Summit hosted by Wilkes University.
“I’m going to talk a little bit about the basics of substance abuse disorders. Also, I’m going to talk about how we got into this problem, the very clear history that really set up the opioid crisis, and then maybe come up with some suggestions on what we might do about it,” Pinsky, Wilkes keynote speaker said.
After the pandemic forced the summit’s cancelation last year, organizers decided to bring it back this year, but virtually.
“We thought that the message was too important to cancel it for a second year in a row. We really wanted people to have the opportunity to hear about the latest topics,” Director of Continued Learning at Wilkes University, Margaret Petty said.
The scourge of addiction has hit Luzerne County especially hard. Overdose deaths hit an all-time high of 156 in 2018. Experts say the pandemic climate has only contributed to a rise in substance abuse disorders which will be front and center as a summit topic.
“Even though it’s in a virtual setting, like, the content that’s being delivered at this conference, there’s only so many places that really offer it. So, you know, let’s get it out there. Let’s get some people educated,” P4 Pharm. D. Student Harrison Ferro said.
“You know, whoever logs in will get good information and we also started a podcast here at Wilkes, Saturday Pharmacist on YouTube and we talk a lot about that,”P3 Pharm. D. Student Hunnter Maxwell said.
It’s that type of talk at the upcoming summit that can provide solutions for those affected by addiction and those treating it.
The theme of the online summit is “collaboration for change” with emphasis on holistic treatment for patients. It will get underway Friday, April 23 at 8 a.m.
Visit the Wilkes University website for more information.
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