Penn State Berks and Caron hold lecture on opioid crisis

Caron's Opioid Addiction Lecture

Dr. Joseph Garbely, medical director at Caron Treatment Centers, spoke to nearly 75 community leaders about opioid addiction at Penn State Berks. Barry Schlouch (far left) coordinated the event.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of the Reading Eagle

WYOMISSING, Pa. — Nearly 75 community leaders from health care, government, industry and education gained a greater understanding of opioid addiction while learning how to recognize and help employees who are battling addiction during a special presentation by drug treatment experts from Caron Treatment Centers. The presentation titled “What Every Community Leader Needs To Know About The Opioid Crisis” was held at Penn State Berks on Tuesday, June 4.

The main message of the presentation was that opioid addiction is a disease of the brain, not a result of lack of willpower. As such, it is treatable and preventable.

Doug Tieman, president and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers, and Dr. Joseph Garbely, medical director of Caron Treatment Centers, led an insightful discussion that touched on the scope of the opioid epidemic and the science of addiction. Tieman and Garbely also discussed how to identify potential problems in a workforce; how to help employees, co-workers and families who may be struggling with the disease of addition; and how addiction may be impacting businesses.

“We’ve called it a moral failing, a lack of willpower for too long, Garbely stated. “We as a medical community understand that it is a chronic brain disease.” He went on to explain that opioid use stimulates the limbic area of the brain, which reminds people to take care of basic human needs such as eating and drinking, while simultaneously diminishing the function of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls judgment and reason.

Garbely added, “It takes one year for a recovery to be more likely than relapse.” 

Tieman explained that the odds of a person developing an addiction increase significantly if he or she experiences early trauma at home, such as parental addiction and the abuse and neglect that often go with it.

The idea for this event came from Penn State Berks Advisory Board member Barry Schlouch, who has hosted a similar event at his business. Schlouch, who also coordinated the presentation, stated during the event that he grew up in a household touched by addiction and Caron Treatment Centers played a significant role in treating his loved ones. Today he is passionate about helping others to develop a better understanding of the opioid crisis and its impact on families and businesses in the community. Barry and Deb Schlouch are co-owners of Schlouch Incorporated.

Caron Treatment Centers have operated lifesaving addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment for over 60 years. Caron’s treatment is customized to meet the needs of individuals and families with highly trained teams prepared to address co-occurring disorders.