7,000 Virginians have died as a result of opioid addiction over the last seven years.  Nationwide, more than 50,000 die of this epidemic every year — that’s a 9/11 scale loss of human life every three weeks.

Tonight, the Virginia Hospital Research and Education Foundation (VHREF) is sponsoring a forum to discuss the problem with special guest Sam Quinones.  From the press release:

Sam Quinones, nationally renowned author of the award-winning book, “Dream Land: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic”, will offer a keynote lecture on his research into the catalyst of the current state of illicit opioid use and abuse, in which he will provide insight on how the “unintentional collision” of health care and capitalism have created a perfect storm that has ravished all parts of the country.

…and before we get an allergic reaction to “collision” between health care and capitalism, let’s recognize a basic truth.  Capitalism has created the best health care system in the world, yet our current health care system is by no means a capitalist system… but rather a privately-run system with public regulations that command universal care (but not universal coverage).  Ergo the unresolved tension — and an interesting one to resolve.

If you are interested in attending the event this evening, by all means come down to Richmond at the VCU Medical Campus in the Hermes A. Kontos Medical Building at 1217 E. Marshall St., Richmond, Virginia 23219.  The event begins at 7pm and will be followed by a panel discussion on the opioid crisis.

Alternatively, if you would like to watch the the panel discussion alone from the comfort of your own living room or desk?  Check out the VHHF Facebook page for live video coverage starting at 8pm.