Lee To Host Opioid Epidemic Panel

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lee University will host “Brewing Crisis,” a panel discussion on the opioid epidemic in Bradley County. The event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.

m. in the Dixon Center.

The Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences is collaborating with The Bridge to bring this discussion to Lee’s campus. The Bridge is a local organization whose mission is to protect the next generation from substance abuse and prepare them to become responsible citizens. 

This event is the first of two panels to occur. Both evenings will present three speakers and follow with a Q&A session.

“The opioid epidemic is unique in that it is faceless, crossing all racial, economic, and religious boundaries, and therefore, it is relevant to all of us,” said Reba Terry, executive director of The Bridge. “The Bridge desires to educate students with the hope of preventing them from falling victim to this dreadful and deadly epidemic. We are grateful for our partnership with Lee University in addressing this issue.”

Panelists for the Oct. 18 event include Steve Crump, Scott Elam, and Angie Taylor.

Steve Crump is Cleveland’s 10th judicial district attorney. His concern for the opioid epidemic led him to create and release an initiative in the fight against the epidemic. This initiative works with agencies such as The Bridge to institute its components.

Scott Elam, chairman of the board of directors for The Bridge, has been part of the group from its inception in late 2014. He is knowledgeable on the subject of opioids and “speaks passionately” about the issue, according to Robin Tirey of Lee’s Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Angie Taylor is the mother of Jace Taylor, a local 16-year-old high school football player who overdosed on opiates in June 2016. Taylor desires to make a difference through sharing her family’s loss in an inspiring manner.

“The university has always been a safe place to discuss crucial issues pertaining to our community. We have that responsibility as an institution,” said Dr. Arlie Tagayuna, associate professor of sociology at Lee. “The opioid crisis, although new, has plagued a lot of cities in the country, caused a lot of pain and destruction, and now has its presence here. We need a concerted effort as a community to reflect, discuss, and take action to combat this problem.”

The second event of this series will take place on Nov. 8 and will feature 2017’s Miss Tennessee, Caty Davis, who is dedicated to promoting awareness and fundraising for substance abuse prevention and treatment across Tennessee. The other two speakers will be announced later.

“People often do not realize what a big problem opioids are, but the epidemic is affecting Bradley County and its residents, regardless of demographics,” said Tirey. “It’s happening to people just like us.”

Both events are free, non-ticketed, and open to the public.

For more information, contact Tirey at rtirey@leeuniversity.edu.




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