The Research Triangle Park

UNC Computer Science Alumni Speaker Series: Google Mike Trinh

UNC CS 2019 Alumni Speaker Series

Event Sponsor

UNC Chapel Hill Department of Computer Science

Event Contact

Rosario Vila, External Relations Manager
[email protected]

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201 S Columbia St Chapel Hill, NC Feb 21 5:30 pm - Feb 21 7:00 pm

Free Lecture Series

CS for Social Good: Opioids, Public Impact, and Computer Science

In only a few years, the opioids epidemic has multiplied to staggering and tragic proportions, ravaging communities nationwide regardless of geography, demographics, or economics. Drug overdoses cause over 70,000 deaths annually (130 daily)--each year, more than the Vietnam War in total.

Vast overprescription of addictive pain medication (like oxycontin or percocet) leads people towards illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Evidence shows that past approaches--casting substance abuse as a moral weakness--are ineffective, and new treatment options recognize substance abuse as a chronic illness with physiological changes to be treated. Medicine, social services, public health, and public safety experts are working to find innovations to help families and communities cope. So too computer scientists, to augment responses from these other disciplines, and to better understand the complexity of this epidemic.

These responses, across different focuses like prevention, narcotics, treatment, and education, are only the first steps. The public crisis of our time will require years of dedicated multi-disciplinary innovation from governments, non-profits, and private companies, to develop sophistication and effectiveness. Technology can and must do more to help, and is uniquely suited to do so for opioids. In doing so, it may serve to realize the potential good of technology to contribute to society at large.