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Women's Studies at Aquinas College

Award-winning journalist Beth Macy visits Aquinas College for public lecture on opioid crisis

Aquinas College will host award-winning journalist Beth Macy for a public lecture on the impact of the opioid crisis on women, children and families. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Wege Student Center Ballroom.

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Aquinas College’s Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center and the University of Detroit Mercy at Aquinas College Nursing Program.

“The opioid epidemic is a complicated issue that affects all ages across the lifespan and in all socioeconomic classes,” said Dr. Suzanne Keep, RN, director of the University of Detroit Mercy at Aquinas College Nursing Program.

“It is vital for nursing students and nurses to understand how this issue became an epidemic so that they may provide care for individuals and families openly and without being judgmental against those who suffer with this illness in sickness, recovery and relapse. Understanding this issue, nurses will be able to provide primary prevention. Beth Macy provides such insight on this horrific epidemic.”

Macy has gained national attention for her comprehensive investigation of the opioid epidemic in her recent book “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America.” In the book, Macy reveals that the number of deaths from opioid overdose is now the equivalent of a jetliner crashing in our country every day, yet the response from government leaders has been ineffective and inadequate.

Aquinas College Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center Director Dr. Amy Dunham Strand said that the groups became interested in Macy’s work when exploring the impact that opioids had on women, families and communities.

“Macy’s work is striking us because it comes out of 30 years of deeply contextualized, investigative reporting that connects the opioid crisis to other social problems, such as job loss and corporate greed,” Dunham Strand said. “What’s more, the book tells the stories of those fighting back – mothers, doctors, nuns, first responders – stories that can be instructive for our own community engagement.”
“Very timely, deeply researched and immensely engaging, Dopesick is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States," said Shellie Jeffries, Aquinas College Library co-director.

Macy has won more than a dozen national journalism awards, including a Lukas Prize for “Factory Man,” multiple shortlist and best-book-of-the-year honors for “Truevine,” and a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard for her newspaper writing. A frequent speaker, teacher and essayist, Macy has been published in “The New York Times,” “Wall Street Journal,” “The New Yorker,” “Oprah” magazine, and “Parade.”

Tom Hanks describes “Dopesick” as “a deep – and deeply needed – look into the troubled soul of America,” and Stanford addiction medicine specialist and author Dr. Anna Lembke calls it the first book to capture the entirety of the epidemic “with a fast-paced narrative, colorful and inspiring characters, vivid historical detail, and a profound sense of place.”

More information about the Center’s events can be found at www.aquinas.edu/womens-studies/events. All events are free and open to the public. The Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center has collaborated to bring in regional and national speakers ranging from activist Winona LaDuke, spoken word poet Sarah Kay, Georgetown historian Marcia Chatelain, astrophysicist Jedidah Isler, and National Book Award Finalist Arlie Hochschild. Working in tandem with the Women’s Studies academic program, the mission of the center is to serve as a community resource for women's and gender issues, promote awareness of these issues through programs and curriculum, and empower students and community members to become advocates for gender equality and social justice.