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UToledo opioid epidemic expo, teach-in April 5

The University of Toledo, as part of its ongoing commitment to address the opioid epidemic in northwest Ohio and beyond, will host an educational resource expo and hold a community-wide teach-in Friday, April 5.

Together, the events are meant to serve as a day of community impact that will
provide links to community resources and a data-driven overview of the epidemic, while addressing myths and misconceptions that can serve as a barrier to seeking treatment.

“There tends to be a social stigma associated with opioid use disorder, but it’s important that people understand opioid use disorder is a complex brain disease that affects people from all backgrounds,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, professor of public health and vice provost for faculty affairs, who serves as co-chair of the UToledo Opioid Task Force. “By reducing that stigma, we can help save lives.”

The 2019 University of Toledo/Community Opioid Prevention Resource Fair and Expo will be held Friday, April 5, from noon to 7 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

The expo will feature a variety of speakers who will outline how opioids work; the difference between safe, medically necessary use and opioid use disorder; the effect of opioid use disorder on a variety of age groups; and prevention and treatment methods.

Naloxone training will be offered throughout the day, and there will be a variety of community service providers on hand to help connect attendees to key resources. Supervised children’s activities also will be provided.

Registration is not necessary for the free, public event. However, professionals in the fields of nursing, social work and counseling who wish to receive continuing education credit need to register in advance at the UToledo Opioid Task Force website.

The UToledo Opioid Task Force, alongside a number of community partners, also has developed a tool kit to provide educational materials that can be shared at schools, workplaces, churches and other area organizations for The University of Toledo/Community Partners Regional Teach-In.

“We want to meet people where they are to ensure that everyone in our community has access to information and resources that will help them understand opioid use disorder and where they can find help and support for themselves or loved ones,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing, who co-chairs the UToledo Opioid Task Force. “We hope to reach as many people throughout the community as possible on April 5.”

In addition to written materials, UToledo can arrange for expert speakers to visit participating organizations.

More information on the expo and teach-in can be found on the UToledo Opioid Task Force website.

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