Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Coming up on Connections: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Prescription opioids
Photo Researchers
Science Source
Prescription opioids

First hour: Discussing the overdose crisis and how it specifically affects rural communities

Second hour: President Biden's remarks in Buffalo; How JOSANA neighbors are working to improve pedestrian safety

More Americans died of drug overdoses last year than in any previous year. That’s according to new data released by the CDC earlier this month. More than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses in 2021, and more than 80,000 of those deaths were due to overdoses from opioids. Experts say they don’t expect the crisis to resolve anytime soon; they point to an increase in reports of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and suicidal thinking related to the pandemic. The crisis is especially acute in rural communities, where people struggle to access treatment options. An upcoming summit hosted by the University of Rochester Medical Center will address these challenges. Our guests this hour discuss the reasons behind the increase in overdose deaths, how communities can address the issues, and what can be done to better support rural communities navigating this crisis. Our guests:

  • Gloria Baciewicz, M.D., medical director of Strong Recovery in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center 
  • Michele Lawrence, assistant professor of psychiatry and public health sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-principal investigator of the UR Recovery Center of Excellence 
  • Kelly Quinn, community outreach specialist for Strong Recovery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, certified peer advocate, and person in recovery 
  • Sam Quinones, author of “Dreamland” and “The Least of Us,” who will be speaking at the University of Rochester’s upcoming conference  

Then in our second hour, we go to Buffalo for live coverage of President Biden’s remarks following Saturday’s mass shooting. An 18-year-old gunman is accused of killing 10 people at a Tops grocery store in a predominately Black part of the city. A 180-page statement he posted online referenced a conspiracy theory known as the ‘great replacement theory.’ We hear the President’s remarks in full.
Then, we shift gears to a conversation about a project designed to make a local neighborhood's streets safer. Families at School #17, residents of the JOSANA neighborhood, and community members teamed up over the weekend to paint the pavement and install temporary traffic calming features at the intersection of Orange and Orchard Streets. We discuss the so-called "Complete Streets Makeover Project," its goals, and how neighbors hope the changes they made will improve pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. Our guests:

  • Qawan Bollar, community school site coordinator at School #17 
  • Joe DiFiore, member of the Complete Streets Makeover Steering Committee at Reconnect Rochester 
  • Ana Morales, parent at School #17 
  • Yajaira Nguyen, principal at School #17 
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.