Opiate drug epidemic to be addressed at Hill View


PORTSMOUTH — Hill View Retirement Center will welcome Lisa Roberts on Wednesday, March 22 at 1 p.m. to provide a presentation on a critical topic to the local area. ‘The Impact and Response of the Opiate Drug Epidemic in the U.S. and Scioto County,’ is topic that Roberts will be speaking on.

Since 1989, Roberts has been employed as Registered Nurse at the Portsmouth City Health Department (PCHD) as a Public Health Nurse where she currently administers the Drug Free Communities Support Program in Scioto County. She works in conjunction with local, state, and national leaders to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“I am going to be talking with them about is what is going on with the opiate epidemic, and what kind of responses are happening at the state level as well as the local level,” Roberts said. “There are of course, some spin-offs, outbreaks and epidemics associated with the opiate epidemic.”

What began as a prescription pain-killer issue has evolved into a major overtaking of heroin.

“The opiate epidemic started out with prescription pain-killers, and then heroin starting flooding the state, and took its place,”Roberts said. “So now we are seeing some really severe impacts from that, with increases in deaths. Ohio is currently number two in the nation as far as overdose deaths overall, and number one in heroin or sudden and related deaths.”

At least 140 Scioto County residents died of unintentional drug overdoses from 2000 to 2009. Prescription pain relievers have been associated with more overdose deaths in Ohio than heroin and cocaine combined from 2006 to 2009, according to the Ohio Department of Health, and Office of Vital Statics.

Among the topics that Roberts plans to discuss at Hill View is the Prescription Monitoring Program.

“Just because they are an older population I am going to talk about some things specifically with them,” Roberts said. “Ohio has improved their Prescription Monitoring Program and that is for the benefit of patients. Doctors can now see through their Prescription Monitoring Program levels of what is called morphine equivalent dose. That’s the level of pain medication that people are receiving, and as people get older that becomes even more important because age-related factors that can increase their chances of overdosing.”

Information regarding safe disposal of medication will also be shared.

“Another thing that we are going to talk about is safe medication disposal. We do have drug drop boxes here in Scioto County at the law enforcement agencies,” Roberts said. “Senior citizens are really encouraged to dispose of their unused prescriptions at these sites, so we will be promoting that too, because seniors can be targeted if they have pain medication in their houses or someone may break in on them to get the medication. We see that happening quite frequently with seniors, it kind of endangers them a little bit to have it, and of course we don’t want anyone to get a hold of controlled substances if its not for a legitimate purpose.”

Local drop boxes may be accessed at the following locations: Portsmouth Police Department, 728 Second Street, Portsmouth; The New Boston Police Department, 3978 Rhodes Avenue, New Boston; Scioto County Sheriff’s Department, 1025 16th Street, Portsmouth; and Shawnee State University Department of Public Safety, 940 Second Street in Portsmouth.

The presentation will be conducted at Hill View Retirement Center Forest Room 1610 28th Street in Portsmouth, and is free and open to the public.

Additionally, Roberts says she will discuss the book Dream Land written by Sam Quinones.

“The Hill View Book Club read the book Dream Land by Sam Quinones, which is a book about the opiate epidemic in the United States, and Portsmouth was prominently featured in that book,” Roberts said. “In fact, Shawnee State and the local ADAMHS Board is bringing Sam to Shawnee State for a symposium on April 21, at Flohr Lecture Hall at 7 p.m. Though his book features Portsmouth, it is completely about the national opiate epidemic. It has become the nation’s worst public health crisis ever.”

Angela Adams, Hill View Outreach Director, said Hill View is elated about Roberts’ upcoming presentation.

“Lisa has extensive experience working in the area of drug abuse and overdose prevention. We are excited to hear about the progress that she has made, as well as the impact to the Scioto County community,” Adams said. ” Our region is fortunate to have Lisa collaborating with local, state, and national leaders to address the nation’s opioid epidemic. We invite the community to hear about the impact, and response of the opiate drug epidemic in Scioto County.”

By Portia Williams

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Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.

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