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COLA to sponsor opioid crisis discussion Oct. 25

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An opioid crisis discussion titled “Appalachian Opioid Epidemic: Mama Told Me Not to Come,” will take place Oct. 25 at Fat Patty’s in Huntington.

The event is being sponsored by Marshall University’s College of Liberal Arts and will feature a panel with members of Marshall’s psychology faculty; it is a follow-up to a symposium presented by Marshall’s psychology staff at the Southeastern Psychological Association this past spring.

Topics discussed at the event include the origin of the opioid crisis, its effects on the city of Huntington, as well as effects on other communities where such crises are present, and different research taking place at Marshall focusing on people affected from substance use disorder.

Among those speaking at the event from Marshall’s psychology is Marianna Linz, the Psychology Department chair. Linz said she hopes those who attend the discussion will leave with a strengthened sense of how this situation became so deeply rooted in Appalachia.

“The opioid crisis isn’t our first rodeo,” Linz said. “It’s the product of our communities being home to industries that are hard on people.”

Linz also said she hopes anyone who attends the event leaves it with a different perspective on those who are affected by opioid addiction.

“Those who come will discuss how our communities were culturally and economically vulnerable to this perfect storm,” Linz said. “I want people who come to leave with an understanding that this substance use disorder doesn’t affect ‘those people,’ it affects our people.”

The title of the event is a nod to Three Dog Night song “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” the song being a metaphor for addiction. Linz said the title fits in well with what Marshall’s College of Liberal Arts is trying to convey with the event.

“It’s all about the warning signs being there and being willfully blind to them for too long,” Linz said.

Marshall first year elementary education major Katherine Morwell said she thinks the event could be very fruitful for anyone that attends.

“I think most of us have a lot of questions about the opioid crisis, but it’s been around for so long that we don’t really ask the basics anymore, even if we don’t know it,” Morwell said. “So this could really help a ton of students start wrapping their heads around the opioid crisis.”

Derek Gilbert can be contacted at [email protected]

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