Rx Task Force to host new series of forums on opioid abuse

Teresa Ristow
Mara Rhodes of the Rx Task Force speaks to a crowd at Library Hall during a Lunch and Learn presentation in March.

If you go:

What: Rx Task Force May Prevention Series

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday and May 17 and 19.

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

— Building on the momentum of a series of community meetings in late March, a second round of Rx Task Force presentations are scheduled to take place Sunday and May 17 and 19 at Chief Theater.

The trio of presentations will focus on the many facets of preventing opioid addiction, with each event featuring different speakers and perspectives.

“This will not be a repeat performance of the March Lunch and Learns. It’s going to be different,” said Mara Rhodes, co-founder of the Rx Task Force.

Rhodes said she’s hopeful evening events will allow new people to attend and learn about preventing opioid abuse, which has become a nationwide epidemic in recent years.

The series begins with the Sunday, May 15 showing of Chasing the Dragon, a 45-minute documentary about opioid addiction released in February by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the national Drug Enforcement Agency.

The powerful documentary tells stories of opioid addiction as told by parents, recovering addicts and experts and serves as a cautionary tale for anyone tempted by any un-prescribed opioid use.

“This hasn’t hit epidemic proportions in Steamboat, and the goal is to not have it sneak up on us,” Rhodes said. “The key is to reach the community to prevent this from happening to us on a scale that is happening in other communities.”

The Sunday event will feature brief discussions by Rhodes and Sheriff Garrett Wiggins.

The second event takes place May 17 and will feature Austin Eubanks, the program director of The Foundry, Hunter Weatherly, pharmacist at Yampa Valley Medical Center and Ken Davis, Director of Community Integration for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

The presenters will discuss their observations on opioid abuse in both their personal and professional lives.

The last event is May 19 and features Erika Schmitz, a social worker with Mind Springs Health who specializes in addiction, Victoria Strohmeyer, a body-centered psychotherapist who will discuss pain management, Beth Wendler of new support group Parents with a Purpose and Katy Thiel, a medical social worker with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association who runs the VNA’s Youth Resiliency Program, which supports students dealing with loss of any kind.

Doors for each presentation open at 5:30 p.m., with presentations beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a question and answer session beginning about 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. with each event wrapping up at 8 p.m.

The presentations are free to attend, and concessions will be sold but no alcohol will be available.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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