February 29, 2024
9:00AM – 4:00PM
Eastern State University
Charter Oak Rd.
Willimantic, CT 06226
Eastern forum will convene experts and community members
Willimantic, CT (02/07/2024) — Solutions for curbing the local and national opioid epidemic will be discussed at a symposium at Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Center. Titled “Moving Forward: Community Dialogues on the Opioid Epidemic,” the symposium will feature several experts and bring together community partners and the public to better understand the opioid epidemic and work toward solutions for this decades-long crisis.
“We aren’t going to prosecute our way out of this problem,” said Anne Mahoney, state attorney for Windham, who came to Eastern with the idea for the symposium. “We need the collective brainpower of the community to address the problem from many angles … Eastern will graduate the next generation of leaders who will be responsible for addressing the epidemic and its aftershocks.”
The symposium will kick off with a keynote speech by Peter Canning, a frontline EMT in the Hartford area and author of “The Killing Season: A Paramedic’s Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic.” Other speakers include Nancy Navarretta, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; State Attorney Mahoney; State Rep. Susan Johnson; State Sen. Saud Anwar, who will give the closing remarks; and others.
The symposium will also feature representatives of community organizations, the criminal justice system, service providers and Eastern faculty. There will also be a panel of people with lived experiences of opioid use.
“Though the opioid epidemic has brought tragedy to so many lives, we also have many people in the community who bring empathy, energy, creativity and commitment to ending this epidemic and supporting people currently impacted by it,” said social work Professor Megan Stanton, one of the event’s faculty organizers. “This complex issue requires complex, multi-dimensional, community-based solutions. It is therefore the goal of this symposium to bring together diverse stakeholders to better understand how the opioid epidemic is playing out in eastern Connecticut and collaborate on concrete action to affect change together.”
“The opioid epidemic has profoundly impacted communities across the U.S., including ones in the eastern Connecticut region,” said Dean of Arts and Sciences Emily Todd. The symposium will aim to “better understand the crisis within the context of the region, state and nation” and seek community-driven solutions.
The symposium is being organized by Eastern faculty from social work, health sciences, political science, criminology, sociology and anthropology, as well as community partners. It is supported by the Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative.
Registration: Individuals planning to attend should register at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=6Eq8AGxX40WUnU8SnYtnCnMKe932gRNDnWsthDrmNkFUNTVaWDVFMDJUMkg0UlpGU01PSkxXTklOQS4u
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving upwards of 4,000 students annually on its Willimantic campus. In addition to attracting students from 160 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 30 states and eight countries. A residential campus offering 41 majors and 68 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal arts foundation grounded in a variety of applied learning opportunities. Ranked among the top 20 public institutions in the North by U.S. News & World Report in its 2022-23 Best Colleges ratings, Eastern has also been awarded ‘Green Campus’ status by the Princeton Review 13 years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.