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Treating America’s Opioid Crisis


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The opioid epidemic has become the deadliest drug crisis in American history, as deaths from heroin and fentanyl continue to skyrocket, and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. In 2016 alone, more Americans died from overdoses than in the entire Vietnam War, leading President Trump to declare the crisis a public health emergency. Despite increased attention to the issue, however, many questions remain about the role of medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in both creating and addressing this crisis.

So what is the current landscape in the fight against opioid addiction? What areas and demographics are most affected? How does this crisis differ from previous drug scares – if it does at all? And most importantly, what can be done to fight back against the epidemic?

Join the IOP as we welcome a panel of experts to discuss the causes, the symptoms, and the future of America’s drug crisis. Featuring:

- Rahul Gupta. Commissioner for West Virginia’s Bureau of Public Health, State Health Officer
- Patrice A. Harris, Immediate Past Chair of the American Medical Association’s Board of Trustees, Chair of the AMA’s Opioid Task Force
- Timothy D. Sini, District Attorney for Suffolk County, NY, former Suffolk County police commissioner

This conversation will be moderated by John Temple, professor in the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University and author of American Pain.


This event is free and open to UChicago students, faculty, staff and the public. This venue has limited physical accessibility and has a gender-neutral restroom. Please request to be shown to the elevator at check-in if you would like assistance reaching the second floor. Please contact the Institute of Politics at uchicagopolitics@gmail.com or 773-834-4671 for any other questions or accommodation requests.