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Author Sam Quinones will deliver keynote at VCU Health-sponsored discussion on opioid addiction



By Leha Byrd
University Public Affairs

Sam Quinones, author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” will deliver keynote remarks Sept. 26 at a Virginia Hospital Research and Education Foundation event on the opioid crisis. The event, “The Opioid Entanglement — A National Perspective On The Commonwealth’s Crisis,” will take place from 7–9 p.m. at the Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building Auditorium, 1217 E. Marshall St., and will highlight ways health communities can strategically take a collective approach at addressing opiate addiction. VCU Health is one of several sponsors for the event.

Quinones will speak about his research on current opioid use and abuse. The event is free but registration is required on the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association website. Event participants include William A. Hazel Jr., Virginia secretary of health and human resources, and Lora Peppard, Ph.D., leader of the Virginia Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment program, designed to combat substance abuse and fatal drug overdoses. Peppard is the former director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at George Mason University and director of behavioral health for the Mason and Partners Clinics.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry professor Omar Abubaker, D.M.D., Ph.D., also will participate in the discussion. Three years ago, Abubaker lost his youngest son to a fatal combination of heroin and benzodiazepine and has since been vocal about his loss and his dedication to educate students about opioids.

“Dreamland,” which tells the story of the rise of black tar heroin and painkiller addiction in the United States, was announced as VCU’s 2017-18 common book in May. A series of VCU campus events — including a discussion with Quinones on Nov. 6 — will be held throughout the 2017-18 academic year.

VCU and VCU Health are on the forefront of Virginia’s opioid epidemic through researcheducation and community addiction programs. For more information about the panel discussion, contact Lauren Martin at 804-297-3555 or lmartin@vhha.com.