GENESEO – Community leaders want their friends and neighbors to know that February’s powerful talk by Chris Herren on addiction, disaster, redemption and hope is just the first of several initiatives to get the separate parts of the community to meaningfully and openly discuss substance abuse.
Kevin Hill, MD, is the next of a series of special presentations and speakers designed to engage Geneseo Central School, SUNY Geneseo and the College’s Healthy Campus and Community Coalition, in opening public discussion, increasing public awareness of substance abuse stigma and improving the social environment pertaining to substance abuse.
“The common initiative is to cultivate the relationship with the school, community and college to increase public awareness and wellness,” said Shelly Wolanske, Coordinator of the Healthy Campus and Community Coalition at SUNY Geneseo.
Hill is Director of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, and author of Marijuana: the Unbiased Truth About the World’s Most Popular Weed.’
On March 26 at 3 p.m. in the Geneseo Central School auditorium, he will give ‘the unbiased truth’ on three common substances: marijuana, alcohol and opioids. The public is invited to attend the talk and ask any questions they have. What causes substance abuse, especially in youths? When does it start? What are the warning signs? What can students do to look after their friends’ wellness? What is the appropriate role of family members in watching for an preventing substance abuse in youths?
“There is so much public attention and media coverage of marijuana, alcohol and opioids,” said Wolanske. “It’s important for the community to have the opportunity to access unbiased information.”
Even Hill’s talk is not the end of the effort. Wolanske says that continual, open public discussion is necessary to make a permanent difference. She says a film screening is planned for April, ‘Reducing the Stigma.’ The idea is to show the film at the Geneseo Riviera and have the public again engage in an open, honest discussion.