Tyrique Wilson

Healthcare Symposium 2017

Each year Dominican College hosts a symposium which it sheds light on some of the most important topics of concern with the Healthcare field, and this year I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 Healthcare Symposium. This was such a good event for everyone to come out to because it was very informative and well organized. The title of the event was “The Opioid Epidemic: What you need to know” and it opened everyone’s eyes on this epidemic we have among us. The Symposium was moderated by Dr. Joan Facelle. There were several speakers that we part of the panel discussion, such as Mr. Thomas Zugibe, Michael Leitzes, Jeanne Horan as well as other prominent members of the medical community. These people helped everyone to understand the impact of the opioid crisis, as well as strategies to combat it based on the question and answer session after the panel discussion.

The first panelist to reach the podium was Rockland County’s District Attorney Mr. Thomas Zugibe. While on stage he shared a few important facts about this epidemic, and one of the most shocking pieces of information he shared was on the death rate due to opioid drugs. Since last year the death rate to opioid based products rose 21 percent. “It’s almost double what we lost in traffic fatalities in 2016, its more than we lost during the entire Vietnam war, its more than we lost in the worst years of the HIV epidemic, yet it doesn’t seem to have the same attention as these other problems”. This definitely is an epidemic and it deserves more attention than it’s currently receiving from the media. Not only is he trying to bring light of this issue to the world, but he has taken action by developing strategies to improve his county as well. He formed an Opioid and prescription drug task force in which they shared information with one another and created a drug task force.

Michael Leitzes was another panelist to speak and he was left responsible for answering the question: “Where can I find help for myself, or a loved one in Rockland?” He pointed out that many different locations within Rockland County that people can go to for recovering from drug addictions. He made it clear that you can’t fight your way out the drug crisis by just locking people up, there is much more that has to be done.

Fentanyl and Carfentanyl are two drugs that Jeanne Horan discussed, and they have a very big part to play in the high dead rates and overdosing. Fentanyl is a fast-acting narcotic analgesic and sedative that is sometimes abused for its heroin like effect. Carfentanyl is an analog of the Fentanyl and is used to sedate and tranquilize large zoo animals, yet people are getting hold of it and using it for the strong high it gives.

Prescription drugs and overdoses kill more people every year then every illegal drug combined ac-cording to Disease Control, and more people need to be aware of this. This was the main message of this year’s Healthcare Symposium at Dominican College that each and every member of the audience came away with.