West Virginia University at Parkersburg will present a three-part education series to bring opioid addiction awareness to the Mid-Ohio Valley. The series, “Opioid Addiction: Educating, Responding, Treating,” takes place Thursdays, March 29, April 5 and April 12 at 6 p.m. at the college’s main campus. All events are free and open to the public.
Kicking off the series will be a screening of the Oscar-nominated Netflix original documentary “Heroin(e)” on March 29 followed by a panel discussion featuring all three women featured in the film. Funding for these events has been provided by the Highmark Foundation with additional support provided by West Virginia Family Health, the Bernard McDonough Foundation, and WesBanco.
“With opioid abuse being such a prevalent issue in West Virginia and across the country, it is our responsibility as an educational institution to help inform the public and offer resources for assistance,” said WVU Parkersburg Interim President Dr. Jane Milley. “This is an important topic, and we hope the series reaches a broad audience, including those who may currently be affected by the opioid crisis.”
March 29, 6 p.m.: Educating
The film “Heroin(e)” chronicles the stories of three women working to break the devastating cycle of drug abuse in Huntington, W.Va. which has a drug overdose rate 10 times the national average. The film, created by award-winning filmmaker and West Virginia native Elaine McMillion Sheldon, follows Fire Chief Jan Rader, Judge Patricia Keller, and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministries as they work together to deal with the opioid epidemic. Rader, Keller and Freeman will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Torie Jackson at WVU Parkersburg’s College Activities Center.
April 5, 6 p.m.: Responding
This second event of the series will focus on what happens during an actual drug overdose. WVU Parkersburg Criminal Justice Program Coordinator Andrew Walker will moderate a panel discussion with Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin, Dr. Teresa Wamer Bigley from Marietta Memorial Health System, and St. Joseph’s Ambulance Services Operations Director Jake Carr. This event takes place in the College Theater.
April 12, 6 p.m.: Treating
The third and final event in the series will focus on treating opioid addiction. WVU Parkersburg Director of Support Services Kurt Klettner will moderate a panel discussion with Darby Stevens, Westbrook Health Services Director of Therapy Services; Patrice Pooler, Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home Executive Director; Catherine Sayre, Parkersburg Treatment Center Clinical Supervisor; and Judd Fulk, Recovery Point Director. This event takes place in the College Theater.