Physicians discuss ethical issues at opioid symposium

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STONY BROOK -

Nearly 150 physicians attended a symposium at Stony Brook University Hospital with the focus on how to tackle ethical challenges during the current opioid epidemic.

Dr. Kevin Zacharoff, of the Stony Brook School of Medicine, was the keynote speaker.

“My particular hope is that health care providers understand how to deal with the pressures that they're facing from both a regulatory and media perspective with respect to the opioid epidemic, and be able to balance that against the ethical need to still provide patients in pain with the care they need,” he said.

Teri Kroll's son, Timothy, died of a heroin overdose in 2009. Kroll says years before that, he became addicted to pain pills pushed by a doctor.

“No one ever told us, or let’s say the drug dealing doctor, never told us these could become addictive for Timothy,” said Kroll. “Since the afflicted society has spoken up, we have seen the changes.”

Kroll has since become an advocate in the fight against opioid abuse. She says there is still more work to be done.

“If we don't educate and re-educate doctors and physicians prescribing this, how can we really know we have control of what's being dispended into the wrong hands?” she asked.

It's estimated there were 600 opioid-related deaths last year on Long Island.

Stony Brook plans to hold another conference on the opioid crisis in October.

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