Public Health CrisisBY RENE THOMPSON An event raising awareness about rampant heroin and opioid abuse in New Mexico is scheduled at the African American Performing Arts Center on Monday, April 11, 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. Hosted by Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, the event will feature keynote speaker and journalist Sam Quinones, who wrote “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” followed by roundtable discussions. Healing Addiction In Our Communities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Albuquerque Public Schools, the UNM Health Sciences Center and Bernalillo County officials have teamed together to host the event. Speakers will talk about why this public health crisis has devastated New Mexico's small towns and multi-generation families and how to come up with solutions to turn the tide before another generation of addicts emerge. Quinones will be covering the prescribing of pain medications during the 1990's that reached its peak in the campaign to market OxyContin, as well as the massive influx of black tar heroin that continues to lay waste to communities throughout the country. Quinones will be signing books before his speech. County Public Information Officer Andrew Lenderman said refreshments will be provided while supplies last. The goal of the event is to encourage dialogue with concerned citizens and community members that have been affected by this epidemic. Event officials will also talk about what this statewide partnership will be doing to address issues and what the community wants to learn and contribute to healing our state’s pandemic of addicts. For more information, go to healingaddictionnm.org. Rene Thompson is a staff writer at ABQ Free Press. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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