Lunch and Learn series returns to Steamboat to address opiate epidemic | SteamboatToday.com

Lunch and Learn series returns to Steamboat to address opiate epidemic

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The local Rx Task Force continues on its mission to educate the community and prevent more opiate overdose deaths in Routt County, as well as Northwest Colorado.

For the second time, the Task Force will be hosting a series of Lunch and Learn events that will bring in both local and regional experts to discuss the epidemic.

The “Changing the Culture of Pain” series will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4, 11 and 18 at Bud Werner Memorial Library’s Library Hall. Lunch will be provided.

Mara Rhodes helped found the Task Force two years ago after her brother Mark McManus died from an opiate overdose in 2014.

Rhodes was recently hired as the new part-time regional coordinator for the Rx Task Force thanks to a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.

The Task Force has gained momentum and decided to bring back the popular Lunch and Learn events.

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"We got really a lot of wonderful feedback, and people said they wanted more of it," Rhodes said. "Seventy-five percent of the people who attended knew a lot about it, and they want people who don't know a lot about it to come."

The Lunch and Learn events will launch Oct. 4 with Yampa Valley Medical Center's director of pharmacy Wes Hunter, as well as Jessica Eaddy, community outreach coordinator for the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, speaking about pain and the addictive opiate pain medications that are subsequently prescribed.

"If you can learn about it, you might be able to help someone somehow," Rhodes said.

The Oct. 11 discussion, “Masking and Mapping Pain,” will feature Austin Eubanks of the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat Springs as well as geospatial analyst Jeremiah Lindemann, who will share his Celebrating Lost Loved Ones Map.

The opiate abuse dilemma has evolved, and there have been more discussions about alternatives to pain medications such as nutrition, exercise and other wellness approaches.

"This series is going to address some of the emotional pain associated with physical pain," Rhodes said.

The Oct. 18 discussion, “Treating Our Pain,” will feature naturopathic doctor Michelle Hana Linct and pain management and behavior health specialist Amy Goodwin.

The Task Force relies on donations to operate, and the group is holding a fundraiser from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Townies, 1744 Lincoln Ave.

During the fundraiser, Townies will be screen printing T-shirts featuring a "You, Me and the Sea" design. The cost for a shirt is $25, and $10 will be donated to the Mark McManus Foundation at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, which helps funds the Task Force and its activities.

Each T-shirt sale also includes is a free beer, glass of wine or a drip coffee.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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