ONLINE ONLY: The Opioid Epidemic in America

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
All Branches
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Recording of program available online after April 29.

Examine the history and influence of opioids and learn how their use for pain relief transformed into a national epidemic.

Opioids been cultivated by humans since antiquity, with earliest references to opium poppies as Hul Gil, the "the joy plant" in 5000 year old Sumerian cuneiform tablets. Medical use of opioids was described by Hippocrates in the 5th century BCE. While the medical benefits of opioids for relief of pain are well recognized, their overuse and abuse has also led to an epidemic of addiction and deaths, uncountable and often untold suffering. Much about opioids has been published -- spanning fiction, biography, lay and scientific literature. Laila Lalami, the author of The Other Americans, introduces the difficult and vexing topic of opioid addiction.

We will be discussing the bio-psycho-socio-economic science of opioids and the history of the US opioid epidemic; namely, how a quite simple organic compound can be such a shape-shifter, with the potential to change from a pain-relieving gift to humanity into a cursed affliction that dramatically alters who and how we are with others.

David Tauben, M.D., FACP is Emeritus Clinical Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, and recently retired Chief of the UW Division of Pain Medicine, board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pain Medicine, and has practiced as Primary Care physician for 30 years and Pain Medicine expert for over 25 years. Dr. Tauben is also UW Director of Medical Student Education in Pain Medicine and leads UW TelePain, an innovative tele-video-conferencing program delivering pain and addiction management educational consultative support to Pacific Northwest primary care providers. He has been principal investigator for the UW's NIH Pain Consortium Center of Excellence for Pain Education, a member of the NIH National Pain Strategy task force on Pain Education, and a founding and continuing member of the State of Washington Agency Medical Directors panel of clinician experts developing opioid prescription guidelines for chronic pain. He earned his BA in Philosophy at Yale University, Medical Degree at Tufts University, and completed his Residency training at the University of Washington.

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David Tauben, M.D., FACP
Event Type
Adult Program
Age Group(s)
David Tauben, M.D., FACP
Paige M. Ferro | | (541) 312-1063