America's
Opioid Crisis

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency because of the widespread misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.


The previous year, HHS reported that 42,249 people died from overdosing on opioids and the opioid epidemic had cost the country $504 billion, including the costs of health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment and criminal justice involvement. Without question, this is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.

Through this year's Tech Talks series, we want to expose participants to the causes, effects and realities of the opioid epidemic. From it, perhaps bad choices will be prevented, lives will be turned around or solutions to this problem will be born.

Event Schedule

The Opioid Recovery Experience
Sept. 11, 2018
7 P.M.
Multi-Flex Theater
Snyder Academic Center

Kelly Kessens, director of the Substance Abuse and Chemical Dependency Program at Phoenix Associates Counseling Center in Fort Wayne, will tell her personal story about her own struggle with addictions, including her journey to sobriety and the detours along the way. Attendees will hear about the fine line she walks daily, juggling her own addictions and those belonging to her clients.

The Justice System and the Opioid Crisis
Oct. 3, 2018
7 P.M.
Multi-Flex Theater
Snyder Academic Center

Dr. Deborah McMahon, Allen County Health Commissioner; Captain Kevin Hunter, Fort Wayne Police Department Vice and Narcotics Division; and others will discuss the scope and impact of the opioid crisis on the city.

The Opioid Crisis and Work
Oct. 23, 2018
12:30 P.M.
Multi-Flex Theater
Snyder Academic Center

Dr. Joshua Long, interim director of Indiana Tech’s Ph.D. in Global Leadership program; Katie Parrish, assistant professor of special education; Joseph Warning, assistant professor of exercise science; Dr. Justin Boyce, professor of psychology; and Bonnie Wilkins, director of health information management will be providing insights into how the opioid epidemic affects the different jobs we do and the economy as a whole. From the children of addicts to athletes, more people are susceptible to opioid addiction and its ills than we may realize.

Narcan and First Responders—Justin Phillips and Aaron’s Law
Nov. 8, 2018
7 P.M.
Multi-Flex Theater
Snyder Academic Center

A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Justin Phillips M.A., is a mother of three children. She is the founder and executive director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc. (ODL), an Indianapolis-based non-profit founded in 2014, dedicated to preventing opioid deaths and reducing the stigma of addiction. Justin formed ODL in 2014 after the death of her 20-year-old son, Aaron, to a heroin overdose. She will share aspects of her personal story and the mission of ODL, including the facilitation of Naloxone distribution to first responders and the lay public.

Showing of the film Heroin(e)
Nov. 15, 2018
12:30 P.M.
Snyder Academic Center
Multi-Flex Theater

This 40-minute documentary shines a light on how three women from the same small town in West Virginia are working to save those affected by opioid addiction. Come for the film and stay for the discussion afterward.

Showing of the film Heroin(e)
Nov. 15, 2018
7 P.M.
Andorfer Commons
Magee-O'Connor Theater

This 40-minute documentary shines a light on how three women from the same small town in West Virginia are working to save those affected by opioid addiction. Come for the film and stay for the discussion afterward.

About Tech Talks...

The Tech Talks series is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Student Affairs. The purpose of the series is to promote active dialogue and awareness about important issues of social justice across the globe.

Through this series, the university hopes to:

  • Foster a sense of campus community and acceptance
  • Promote critical thinking about the historical and social contexts of contemporary social challenges
  • Raise awareness of global issues impacting the development of a just society
  • Educate students on the ways in which global issues can be addressed through a variety of professional disciplines
  • Engage the campus and the greater Fort Wayne community in joint dialogue on issues of justice
  • Educate students on the role of empathy with those impacted by social injustice in the promotion of a civil society