Le Moyne’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies is partnering with several regional organizations to bring the award-winning documentary “SMACKED! Heroin Addiction and Recovery in Rural America” to campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The town hall-style meeting will consist of a 65-minute film screening followed by a panel discussion followed by a Q&A. This program seeks to explore the opioid crisis, revealing how the stigma surrounding addiction affects recovery. Success stories are depicted, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Jessica Vechhione, and area recovery professionals and others to better understand recovery initiatives in Central New York.

The panel will consist of:
(moderator) Matthew Whitman, executive director of the Cortland Area Communities That Care Coalition, which enhances existing efforts such as the annual medication disposal events, increasing access to Narcan, creating countywide awareness campaigns and developing stronger partnerships with physicians and local law enforcement agencies.

Lauren P. Davie, project coordinator at the Central Region Addiction Resource Center (CRARC), which serves both community members and professionals to not only to reduce the stigma around the disease of addiction and substance use disorders by bringing prevention, treatment and recovery support providers together but to also give parents, siblings, friends, and other community-based providers in the central region access to the resources available in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties.

Jessica Vecchione, an award-winning videographer from VeccBrowne Productions, who has carved out a niche for herself in the Catskills, helping individuals, businesses, and organizations connect to others and define their brand by telling their stories on film. Veccione’s documentaries facilitate discussion on important issues and give participants tools that help them to form opinions.

Monkia Taylor, director of Behaviorial Health Services at Crouse Hospital, which is dedicated to improving substance use disorder treatment for women, and individuals with co-occurring disorders and other disadvantaged populations. Her current efforts include advocacy on the local, state and federal level for treatment on demand. A licensed Clinical Social Worker and credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor, she has more than 20 years of experience including direct clinical care.

Lieutenant Zachary Misztal , criminal investigations division commander for the City of Oswego Police Department, who, along with fellow officers, participates in the City of Oswego’s REAP program (Rapid Evaluation for Appropriate Placement). Launched in April 2018, REAP allows those struggling with substance use disorders to enter the Oswego Police Department building for screening without facing any criminal charges if they’re willing to turn over their drugs. Police can then facilitate that first phone call to medical services or recovery programs outside of incarceration. The program also allows parents or guardians to request a police officer to a specific location to help intervene with a child under the age of 18 who is suspected of drug use. REAP was launched through an agreement with the Oswego County District Attorney’s office and is coordinated between the police department and the Farnham Family treatment organization.