Special program set for International Overdose Awareness Day

August 16, 2022

Special program set for International Overdose Awareness Day

MOBILE, Ala. — The Drug Education Council of Mobile is presenting an event titled “After Dopesick: An Evening with Steve Loyd & Friends” on Wednesday, August 31, at the Saenger Theatre in Downtown Mobile. This free event, which begins at 6 p.m., will take place on International Overdose Awareness Day.

For those not familiar with Dr. Loyd, he is the inspiration for Michael Keaton’s character in the Hulu series Dopesick, and a major character in Beth Macy’s New York Times bestselling book by the same name. He, Ms. Lacy, and others will share their experiences with attendees.

The Mobile County Health Department’s Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program will have a table set up at the Saenger. OD2A focuses on the complex and changing nature of the drug overdose epidemic. It highlights the need for an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and cohesive public health approach. For more information on OD2A, call 251-410-OD2A (6322).

Additionally, area treatment/recovery resources for those seeking help and support will be featured; families will be able to remember their loved ones on a memory board; and Ms. Macy’s books will be available for sale and signing. “Raising Lazarus,” Ms. Lacy’s next book about the opioid crisis, is set to be released today.

The following is a message from Dr. Loyd about the Saenger event:

“I was born and raised in a small town in East Tennessee. I am a board-certified physician in internal medicine. I have been in recovery from opioids and benzodiazepines since 2004. Experiencing addiction has allowed me to develop a unique approach to patient care — simply put, my mission is to help as many people as possible receive the quality treatment they deserve.

“Today, I am the Chief Medical Officer for Cedar Recovery, an outpatient-based addiction medicine practice in Middle and East Tennessee. I work as medical director for various opioid treatment programs across the State and am responsible for the care and treatment of at least 5,000 patients per year. I have worked on key initiatives in Tennessee and elsewhere to reduce the availability of prescription drugs and other harmful substances, as well as opportunities for people to get treatment. I have previously served as Tennessee’s Medical Director for Substance Abuse Services, the State’s Opioid Czar, and am currently the Chair of Tennessee’s Opioid Abatement Council.

“In 2020, I worked with the writers of the Hulu show Dopesick, based on the New York Times bestselling book by Beth Macy, as they created a character based largely in part on my early medical career and addiction. And it is my story and those of countless others that I look forward to sharing with your community on Wednesday evening, August 31.

“Beth will join me. Her career in journalism has shown us, through her unforgettable human portraits of folks ravaged by the opioid crisis, that opioid drug abuse knows no bounds. Also joining us will be the Honorable Duane Slone of Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District Court. Judge Slone is recognized nationally as an effective collaborator and innovator for his efforts to address the opioid driven addiction crisis.

“To complete our conversation will be two of your own, Lynn Oldshue and Allison Covington, LPC, who will serve as moderator. Lynn is an award-winning author, Alabama Public Radio Gulf Coast correspondent, and investigative writer for Lagniappe. She currently is writing a series about the wide-ranging and devastating effects of the opioid crisis in southwest Alabama. Allison is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 30 years of counseling experience with adults, adolescents, and families struggling with substance abuse and mental health disorders.

“Nearly 10 years into the second wave of America’s overdose crisis, addiction rates have soared to record-breaking levels, highlighting the acute need for leadership, urgency, and change. Bearing witness to the devastating personal costs that one-third of America’s families are being forced to shoulder, we believe our conversation will be heartening, infuriating, and ultimately, inspiring. Please join us.

“With gratitude to everyone at the Drug Education Council and those who are making this event possible, I am very truly yours, Stephen D. Loyd, M.D.”

For more information on the host, visit www.drugeducation.org or call 251-478-7855.