Family Service Association of NEPA

Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, 77 East Market St., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18701

Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization working with children, individuals, families, and communities to achieve their potential.

Building a Community to Conquer Opioid Addiction - Conference Objectives:

- To understand core issues regarding opioid addiction.
- To support civic engagement efforts to strengthen family relationships in celebration of National Family Week.
- To ensure that families and community organizations obtain basic knowledge of the availability and accessibility of resources and to facilitate links between families and service providers.
- To ensure that families and community organizations have the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and develop new skills.

Thank you to our Sponsors:

The Thalenfeld Family Trust
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
The Angeline Elizabeth Kirby Memorial Health Center
The Meadows Psychiatric Center
DA State Drug Forfeiture Fund
Pyramid Healthcare
Community Care Behavioral Health Organization
Harrold’s Pharmacy
The ABC Anti-Bullying Fund of The Luzerne Foundation
The Fund for Luzerne County of The Luzerne Foundation
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine


Join us for two impactful events:

Thursday, November 16th -- Community Kick-Off Event
Free & Open to the Public:

Friday, November 17th -- Educational Conference
Purchase Tickets:

Opening Session: Mark Schenker, PhD, will present an overview of the current Opiate Epidemic. The emphasis will be on the similarities with older drug epidemics (e.g. the crack epidemic of the 1980s) and the unique differences in this current problem. They will review prevalence, mortality and impact data. They will address general concepts of addiction, ideas about recovery, and treatment options and hope to provide a framework for the subsequent presenters.

Keynote Address: Laurie Besden, Esq. will share her compelling personal story of an insatiable drug addiction that nearly took her life but settled for her freedom. Through an in-depth telling of her recovery journey (including her eventual reinstatement to the practice of law), she will provide information on how to identify and help attorneys and loved ones in distress due to substance use and mental health disorders, and outlines the resources for help available, including an overview of LCL’s services. The program will also include shocking statistics regarding the prevalence of substance use and mental health disorders in the U.S. legal industry.

Concurrent Session Descriptions
A: Addiction 101: We will discuss 1. How addiction is a brain disease or disorder and not a character defect. 2. What are the different addictions and how abuse of opioids and the resulting disorder differs from other addictions. 3. What are the basic treatments and the barriers to treatment for addictions with focus on opioids.

B: Community Based Strategies for Opioid Prevention: Overview of community based strategies and their impact on the opioid crisis through community coalitions and data driven decisions.

C: Responses to Overdoses in Our Communities: This presentation will focus on the complexity of reaching, treating and transporting overdose patients from rural communities to health care facilities outside the rural area including the importance of Narcan on basic life support tracks. It will also feature a power-point presentation to show why we have this nationwide opioid overdose epidemic and how we are attacking the issue head on in Wilkes-Barre. 

D: Street Pharmacology: The session will explain the difference between opiates and opioids, with attention to addictive aspects, physiological impact, street slang, and nomenclature.

E: A Criminal Defendant’s Perspective on “Now I’m in the System, How Can I Get Out”: This presentation will focus on the experience of a drug user who finds himself in “the system” for the first time or the tenth time. Presenters hope to discuss what the system can or can not offer to the addicted defendant, what counsel can do to help and what the Public Defender’s Office is doing to affect outcomes in the system. The District Attorney's Office will discuss the experiences of law enforcement in encoutnering opioid-addicted person. Points will include the use of Narcan/Naloxone as a life-saving tool, the change in mindset for pure addicts and recognizing those who are trafficking to support a habit rather than as a criminal enterprise. 

F: Families: The Forgotten in Addiction: Families and loved ones are many times forgotten about when it comes to addiction. This presentation will focus on how loved ones are affected by this deadly disease. In addition, this presentation will provide techniques on how loved ones can assist the addicted individual in attaining and maintaining sobriety. In many instances, family members are just as sick as the individual addicted. However, there is hope and help is widely available.

G: From Addiction to Recovery and Beyond / Building More Recovery Ready Communities: This session will focus on personal stories on the journey to recovery; a PowerPoint examining the CRS Initiative.; and question and answer period with CRS’S and individuals in long term recovery.

H: Opioid Epidemic/Naloxone Training: Opioid abuse and overdose is a growing epidemic. This presentation will discuss this issue and provide training and information on the lifesaving medication, Naloxone (Narcan).

I: Are We Prepared to Respond to Substance Abuse in the Senior Population?: This presentation will address current trends in aging and substance use including the importance of understanding the signs and symptoms of, and the stigma associated with substance use disorder in later life. In addition, the presentation will serve to increase awareness of substance abuse in seniors and highlight the need to support an integrated system that enables older adults to seek treatment and enjoy recovery.

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Amber Loomis at (570) 823-5144, ext. 309 or



Educational Conference for Individuals, Families and Service Providers

Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, 77 East Market St., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18701



Free Community Kick-Off Event: Conquering Opioid Addiction

Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, 77 East Market St., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18701


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