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First Coast Connect

05/19/16: Opioid Addiction; Mental Health; Steven Raichlen; Wild Amelia Nature Fest; Kerry Speckman

Opioid Addiction

The problem of people abusing prescription pain medication, then often advancing to heroin use and overdosing, has become a serious public health crisis in this country. 

Christine Meyer, supervising program attorney for the Guardian ad Litem Program for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, joins us to discuss special training going on in the judicial system to help kids whose parents have a substance abuse problem.

For more on the rise in heroin use in Jacksonville, tune in to WJCT’s “Community Thread: The Opioid Epidemic” simulcast on WJCT Public Television and 89.9 WJCT F-M Thursday night at 8 p.m.

Mental Health

There’s a concerted push here on the First Coast to improve our often dysfunctional system of care when it comes to mental health.

That includes First Aid training, and a potential new drop-in center.

We discuss these efforts with Laureen Pagel, CEO of Starting Point Behavioral Health.

Steven Raichlen

Author, public television host and Barbecue Hall of Famer Steven Raichlen joins us with a look into his new book, "Project Smoke."

Raichlen will appear at the St. Johns Town Center Barnes and Noble Thursday night.

Wild Amelia Nature Festival

Wild Amelia, a nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers from Amelia Island, conducts educational nature programs year-round that culminate in the three-day Festival on the third weekend in May.

The 10th annual Wild Amelia Nature Festival takes place this weekend.

We preveiw the event with Jody Hetchka, president Wild Amelia and owner of Kayak Amelia.

Kerry Speckman

TheSpecktator.comblogger Kerry Speckman joins us to rundown the biggest events around town this weekend.

Sean Birch joined the WJCT team in late 2011 and was with the company until 2016.