Library, Democrats to host opioid forum on Saturday

Ridgefield’s opioid abuse problems, and how to prevent them, will be the subject of an open forum on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 2 to 3:30 at the Ridgefield Library.

“It’s a town hall-style forum on preventing opioid abuse in Ridgefield,” said event organizer Stephen Saloom.

“What we’re trying to do is find out what’s best for Ridgefield, what we need to do about it.”

“Having invited a whole range of people, I’ll be inviting people to speak, we’ll be interweaving that question, and stories from the audience, at the same time.”

Among the expected speakers are First Selectman Rudy Marconi, who has been involved for years in both local and state-level efforts to fight addiction to heroin and other opioids, and Carina Borgia-Drake, a Ridgefielder who lost a friend from her youth to addiction.

Saloom said Borgia-Drake “had a childhood friend who grew up into a professional, had surgery, was given painkillers, became addicted, and recently died of a heroin overdose.”

Also set to speak is Devin Hartley of Drubner, Hartley & Hellman, which is representing several Connecticut municipalities in a lawsuit against four pharmaceutical firms, alleging the companies led pharmacists, physicians and patients to believe that opioid painkillers were safe and effective over long periods of time.

Saloom, who works as a public policy advocate, is a candidate for the on the Democratic ticket, and Saturday’s opioid forum is sponsored by the Democratic Town Committee. But Saloom said it will not be political.

“This will not be conducted as a political event,” he said.

“Everyone is welcome at this event, all viewpoints are welcome at this event.”