From the editor: The rest of the addiction story | SteamboatToday.com

From the editor: The rest of the addiction story

From the Editor

In January 2016, I wrote a story, "Breaking the Silence," which focused on opiate addiction, heroin use and the growing number of overdose deaths.

The inspiration to investigate this tough subject came from Mara Rhodes, a Steamboat Springs business owner, wife and mother of three young children, who asked to meet with me one afternoon and then told me about her brother, who died from a heroin overdose at age 33.

Rhodes said she didn't want others to go through what she and her parents had endured, and she thought it was time for the community to begin talking more openly about the epidemic of prescription pill or opioid abuse and heroin addiction, which were already claiming lives in Steamboat and Routt County.

Rhodes' courage and honesty were the impetus behind the article, and it was a story that needed to be told.

In the weeks and months after that story published on the front page of the Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today, a lot of progress has been made in the areas of education and prevention.

The Rx Task Force, which was formed in November 2015 and is led by Rhodes, has hosted numerous lunch and learn events to educate the public about the opioids epidemic, and community institutions, like the school district, law enforcement and medical care providers, are now working more closely together to combat the problem.

Recommended Stories For You

A second very important piece of the addiction issue lies in the areas of treatment and recovery, and we think it's time to start a community dialogue on that topic. The Steamboat Pilot & Today will host its second Steamboat Conversations event of the year from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Steamboat Art Museum, and the event will focus on these issues.

A panel of experts from The Foundry treatment center in Steamboat Springs, including COO Austin Eubanks, Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Michael Barnes, will lead the discussion, and three Foundry alumni will also participate in the panel. They will share their stories of recovery in the hopes of shining light on the issues surrounding addiction, and Eubanks and Barnes will talk about treatment options and ways the community can support and engage with those recovering from alcohol or drug addiction.

The purpose of Steamboat Conversations is not only to educate the community about important issues but to also encourage an open dialogue focused on solutions. On Monday, the panel's presentation will be followed by a robust Q & A session, which I will facilitate, so come ready to participate.

The event is free and open to the entire community, and I hope to see many of our readers there.

If you have questions, please email me at lschlichtman@steamboattoday.com.

If you go:

What: Steamboat Conversations: A community discussion about addiction, treatment and recovery

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 2

Where: Steamboat Art Museum, 801 Lincoln Ave.