Alternative Ways to Battle the Opioid Crisis

Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Edgar Rivera Colón, Asst. Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies at Saint Peter's University, to discuss the opioid crisis in America and his thoughts on alternative treatments..

11/20/17 #2086






"Welcome to One on One. I'm Steve Adubato. It is my honor to introduce, for the first time, it will not be the last, Edgar Rivera Colon, who is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies at Saint Peter's University. Good to see you. Good to see you Steve. Thank you for having me. For those who don't know Saint Peters, we were talking beforehand, is a Jesuit school? That's right. Focused... where is it by the way? It's in Jersey City, and it's focused on first-generation students, and actually one of the interesting things about Saint Peter's is that something like 70% of the faculty are first-generation themselves. Is that true? Including this humble servant. Where are you from originally? Jersey City Downtown, before it became interesting, when it was like a white ethnic and Puerto Rican and black cosmopolitan sort of place. Love it. Yeah. Your area of expertise deals with the opioid addiction... heroin crisis. Yeah. Yeah. Put that in context for us. Why do you care so much? How bad is it? Loaded question. Yeah. I'm breaking all my rules, three questions in one, and finally, what do we need to do? Go ahead. Okay so I got involved, and I was telling you this, that through people that were close to me, died of HIV as a result of injecting behavior when I was very young, and then their wives died, and then the grandparents had to take care of those kids. And as a result, I really got into HIV early on in '93, through the AIDS Hotline New York City. And although I'm a trained anthropologist, sex and gender anthropologist, I tell people I became a medical anthropologist as a result of the crisis. I saw the crisis in HIV as important for the communities that I cared about. And then the opioid crisis is an extension of that. Right? It's really that kind of work that I was interested in, in terms of basic public health as justice, as the justice work that I needed to do. And when I was coming up, there were so few of us who were from Latino communities who were getting PhDs, or becoming social scientists. I was getting jobs all the time, and I decided, "Okay this is the work that I need to do." Break it down for us a little bit. Yeah. People are taking prescription drugs...? They are. And they're op... some of them are opioids? Right. They we're doing that for a while? Right. Do they transition to heroin? They transition. Right. So the data that we... Is there any certain trigger point? Or is everyone different? The trigger points are injuries of young people, the things..."