1st December 2019

Cal State ~ San Bernardino

On Tuesday night, March 12th, 2019 Cal State University Associates President, Rod Hendry, introduced Harry Haroutunian, M.D., “Dr. Harry,” to talk about “Prescription Drug Abuse: The Opioid Epidemic.” Dr. Harry has authored two books, Being Sober, and Not as Prescribed. He co-authored, Hijacking theBrain. He has also appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and Dr. Phil.Dr. Harry addressed the tragic crisis gripping our nation, our communities and our families. He asked how many individuals have a family member, friend, or relative that has been affected by addiction. A majority of hands went up. Interestingly, Dr. Harry transitioned to the audience, creating awareness that many of us have been exposed to opioids if we have had joint replacement surgery or even a colonoscopy. “Have you ever experienced drunkenness during your lifetime?” A substantial number of hands went up. “Well, then,” he added, “you have also experienced what it means to ‘overdose’”.
Dr. Harry stated in a twenty-four hour period one hundred and thirty individuals will die from an overdose. “Let us pause for a moment for the individual who has just overdosed,” he instructed the crowd. In a poignant gesture, every eleven minutes during his presentation, Dr. Harry asked the audience to “pause for a moment for the individual who has just overdosed.”
His PowerPoint presentation helped describe the various areas of the brain and how addiction is triggered in an area, which is separate from emotion, ethics and reason. Once triggered, the addict will seek out his or her drug of choice without consideration of the consequences. “Addiction will suck the life out of you,” he told the crowd. “We used to screen kids age seventeen and up. We now screen age eleven and up. Where are they getting the drugs? Mom and dad, grandma and grandpa.” Leftover pain-killers left in bathroom cabinets are one of the primary sources for kids to find drugs. Dr. Harry advised everyone to audit their medicine cabinets and get rid of those drugs.
Dr. Harry told the audience we need to address the problem of addiction. Unfortunately, society still has a negative view of addiction. It is viewed as a weakness, as a disgrace for those afflicted. We need to eradicate the stigma associated with addiction and treat it for what it is, a disease. Much like a diabetic needs treatment, so does an addict.
The session ended with an engaged and spirited question and answer period, followed by a book-signing.