As Opioid Crisis Grows, Experts and Professionals Consider Addiction Through Social Justice Lens

As the growing opioid crisis tops the cause of injury death in the United States, the Duquesne University School of Nursing is hosting a national forum to delve into how people with addiction and victims view the world.

The Face of the Person with an Addiction will be held Thursday, Oct. 26, and Friday, Oct. 27, in the Charles J. Dougherty Ballroom of Duquesne University's Power Center. This marks the eighth annual McGinley-Rice Symposium on Social Justice for Vulnerable Populations.

The two-day conference will feature presentations, panels, poster presentations and stories from parents and family members of those with addiction; local and national health care professionals dealing with the addiction and the opioid epidemic; policy analysts; social workers; academics; advocates; addicts in recovery and others.

Symposium keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Peggy Compton, associate professor of family and community health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, whose clinical expertise includes opioids, addiction and pain
  • Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, which is a partner in the Overdose Prevention Project that provides training on overdose prevention and response to individuals at risk of drug overdose
  • Mary Fleming, associate administrator for women's services and chief of the National Policy Liaison Branch in the Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Rockville, Md.)
  • Andrew McKenna, author of Sheer Madness: From Federal Prosecutor to Federal Prisoner, in which he shares how his addictions to opiates and heroin resulted in his serving five years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and impacted his career as a former Airman, U.S. Marine Corps Captain; former JAG attorney; and former Department of Justice prosecutor.

Among other topics on the symposium agenda are:

  • The Face of the Mother with an Addiction
  • Neurobiology to Recovery: An Integrative Approach to Addiction
  • Experiences and Perceptions of Rural Post-Partum Women with Substance Use Disorders
  • Addiction and Rural Health: Insights from Bioethics and Social Justice on Alabama's Opioid Crisis
  • Should Addiction Affect Organ Transplant.

The Face of the Person with an Addiction is open to the public and registration is required. For more information, including a detailed schedule, continuing education credits, symposium cost and registration, call the School of Nursing at 412.396.5203 or visit

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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