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WSP 336 — America's Opioid Epidemic: Today's Realities, Tomorrow's Options

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Mar 3
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Feb 24
Unit: 0
Tuition: $225
Instructor(s): Steve Beitler
Status: Open
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Mar 3
1 day
Drop By
Feb 24
0 Unit
Steve Beitler
On an average day in America, more than 650,000 prescriptions for opioid medications are dispensed; almost 4,000 people use opioids non-medically for the first time; and more than 100 people die from an opioid-related overdose. That vast human toll has fueled growing media scrutiny, attention from elected officials and policy-makers, and research across diverse medical and scientific disciplines.

This workshop will offer students a comprehensive introduction to America’s growing opioid epidemic—an extremely complex phenomenon that has scientific, social, economic, and political causes and consequences. The workshop will take national and regional perspectives in detailing the epidemic’s origins and scope. It will examine key trends in the use of prescription pain relievers as well as heroin and fentanyl. And it will show how the opioid epidemic is tied closely to people’s struggles with widespread chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, some of which are a by-product of economic stagnation that has affected many people in the United States.

The workshop will look to the future in exploring what scientists are learning about the genetic basis of addiction; new and emerging treatments, such as non-addictive pain relievers and an opioid vaccine; and promising tools for prevention. Guest speakers and question-and-answer sessions will enrich this introduction of a daunting public health, and human, challenge.

Guest speakers include:

Dr. Anna Lembke, Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, and author of Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It's So Hard to Stop

Dr. Korina De Bruyne, Assistant Clinical Professor, Stanford School of Medicine (and a member of Santa Clara County's Opioid Safety Working Group)

Dr. Howard Fields, Professor Emeritus of Neurology and Physiology, UCSF School of Medicine

Steve Beitler, Medical Historian

Steve Beitler received a PhD in the history of medicine from UCSF. Before completing his doctorate, he worked for twenty-seven years at HP and Agilent Technologies. He specializes in the history of drug policy and drug use as well as the history of how pain has been understood, treated, and experienced.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.