VCU Health to host Facebook Live interview series on opioid epidemic

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Overdose deaths in the United States involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ninety-one Americans die daily from an opioid overdose and more than 1,000 are treated daily in emergency departments for not using prescription opioids as directed. In 2016, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Health Commissioner Marissa Levine declared the opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency in Virginia.

Throughout the summer, VCU Health will host Facebook Live interviews with institutional experts to highlight efforts underway at the health system and Virginia Commonwealth University aimed at combating the opioid epidemic. Viewers are invited to participate by submitting questions and comments during the interviews, which will focus on topics such as addiction treatment, pain management, health care policy, education and research.

Interviews will be live at on the following dates and times:


  • July 10 at 11 a.m.: VCU School of Medicine professor Sebastian Tong, M.D., will discuss the VCU Health Obstetrical Addiction Program, which is a health system initiative that helps new and soon-to-be mothers overcome addiction.
  • July 14 at 3 p.m.: VCU School of Medicine professor Mishka Terplan, M.D., will discuss addiction recovery services offered at VCU Health and the newly opened VCU Health Motivate Clinic.
  • July 18 at 11 a.m.: VCU professor of medicine and health administration Alan Dow, M.D., will discuss continuing medical education initiatives hosted at VCU that are aimed at aligning opioid prescription practices throughout the commonwealth with new state and national guidelines.
  • July 19 at 11 a.m.: VCU School of Medicine assistant clinical professor Jenny Fox, M.D., will discuss efforts to combat and treat neonatal abstinence syndrome at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. 
  • July 25 at 11 a.m.: VCU School of Medicine professor Peter Cunningham, Ph.D., will discuss state and national health care policy as it relates to opioid prescriptions and addiction treatment.
  • July 28 at 11 a.m.: VCU School of Dentistry professor Omar Abubaker, D.M.D., Ph.D., will discuss educational initiatives at VCU School of Dentistry and Nursing that are related to opioid prescribing practices and addiction treatment.
  • Aug. 2 at 1 p.m.: VCU School of Medicine professor F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., will discuss medical school curriculum changes related to opioid prescribing practices.