Opioids impact on children and I Go Home series


(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, September 25, 2018:

Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. It has been declared a public health emergency. Here in Pennsylvania, the opioid epidemic is impacting our family members, friends, teachers, first responders, and perhaps most importantly – our children.

It’s estimated that a baby is born every 25 minutes suffering from opioid withdrawal, and 2.9 million children are being raised by grandparents today.

As part of WITF’s collaboration with Pennsylvania’s public media stations on the Battling Opioids project, Tuesday’s Smart Talk focuses on children of the opioid epidemic.

Appearing on the program are Wendy Loranzo, who lost her daughter Liz to an opioid overdose and Dr. Jennifer Chambers, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Capital Blue Cross.

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Wendy Loranzo and Dr. Jennifer Chambers

Also, more than fifty years ago, Philadelphia NBC10 reporter Bill Baldini published a groundbreaking expose on the inhumane conditions at the Pennhurst State School and Hospital. His report shed an uncomfortable light on the mistreatment of society’s most vulnerable citizens – individuals with intellectual disabilties. Baldini’s report was titled Suffer the Little Children and is credited with igniting the disability civil rights movment. Two years ago, WITF-TV produced a documentary on Pennhurst called I Go Home, which will air again Nov. 8, 8pm. There is also a new documentary produced by WITF- TV as a continuation of the intellectual disabilities topic titled Going Home, and airing Nov. 15, 8pm.

The Pennhurst story is highlighted this week when Millersville University hosts a forum on disability rights and history on Friday, September 28. Prominent advocates, policymakers, and scholars will address the history of disability rights and current concerns in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Joining Smart Talk to discuss the forum and the Suffer the Little Children report are Professor Dennis Downey, Ph.D., Professor of History Ermeritus and Reporter Bill Baldini.

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Bill Baldini (Coburn Dukehart/NPR) and Prof. Dennis Downey, Ph.D.