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Darien Church Holds Community Discussion On Opioid Crisis

The First Congregational Church of Darien will hold a community discussion on opioids on Sunday, Oct. 1.
The First Congregational Church of Darien will hold a community discussion on opioids on Sunday, Oct. 1. Photo Credit: First Congregational Church of Darien

DARIEN, Conn. -- The First Congregational Church of Darien and Silver Hill Hospital will host a panel discussion to address the problem of drugs and opioid abuse that plague the community.

The talk will be held at the church on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 11:30 a.m. Although the focus is on teens, people of all ages are affected by the opioid crisis.

Two professional panelists who work in the Darien area will talk about addiction from the scientific, prevention and treatment perspectives. Two people in recovery will share their personal stories. There will be time for asking questions and sharing concerns.

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Eric D. Collins, the physician-in-chief at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, which specializes in addiction treatment. He is a graduate of Columbia Medical School, completed his residency at Columbia Presbyterian/New York State Psychiatric Institution, and is board certified in Addiction Psychiatry. He will present specific facts and up-to-date understandings from the scientific standpoint.
  • Allison Fulton has been the executive director of the Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Drug Abuse since 2002, an organization that gives training, techinical assistance and resources to many local prevention centers and towns in western Connecticut. A certified prevention specialist, Fulton is a popular keynote speaker and facilitator for "Parenting with Positive Discipline" and other programs. She is a strong supporter of the power of local initiatives that are data-driven and collaborative.
  • Jen H. is in her late 20s, working as a receptionist as she studies for her degree at Norwalk Community College.
  • Allan Griffin is a young man who works for Aware Recovery Care, an addiction center in New Haven.
  • Gary Morello is the associate minister at the First Congregational Church, and is deeply involved in community youth programs.

A recent White House panel assessed drug abuse as a "public health emergency," a designation usually reserved for natural disasters. According to the New York Times, in 2012 doctors prescribed 259 million opioids, enough for every American adult to have a bottle.

The talk will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the First Congregational Church, 44 Brookside Road in Darien. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to the discussion. For questions, contact Sally Bassler at (203) 655-9658.

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