Portland, OR

Thursday in Portland: OHSU panel discusses dangers of fentanyl use among local teens and more

Emily Scarvie

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, June 30 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. OHSU panel discusses dangers of fentanyl use among teens

On Wednesday, Oregon Health and Science University held an expert panel to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl amid what doctors are calling a troubling spike in overdose deaths. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, typically disguised as painkillers like oxytocin or Percocet.

Wednesday’s panel was a call to action for local parents to have honest conversations with their kids, and featured anecdotes from doctors, pediatric psychologists, a school nurse and a couple who lost their son to an overdose. According to Dr. Honora Englander, an OHSU addiction doctor, fentanyl played a role in Oregon outpacing the rest of the country in overdose deaths last year.

“In Oregon we had a 41 percent increase compared to a 16 percent increase nationally,” Englander said. “And again this adolescent group is so critical.”

The panel encouraged parents and young people to stay vigilant and prepare for the worst by getting naloxone, also known as Narcan, at their pharmacy. Naloxone can revive those who have overdosed on pills laced with fentanyl or opiates and is available without a prescription at Oregon pharmacies.

2. Mark Cuban's no-cost A.I. Boot Camp coming to Portland this fall

On Wednesday, the Mark Cuban Foundation announced that it will be hosting a no-cost Artificial Intelligence Boot Camp for underserved high school students in Portland this fall. The camp, which is one of 30 across the country, will teach students basic A.I. concepts and skills.

Students will learn how they interact with A.I. in their own lives, as well as the ethical implications of A.I. systems. They’ll learn about TikTok recommendations, smart-home assistants, facial recognition and self-driving cars, and hear from knowledgeable volunteer mentors.

The camp will be held for four consecutive Saturdays, starting on Oct. 22 and ending on Nov. 12. Students can apply now at markcubanai.org/application. Applications must be submitted before Sept. 1.

3. Ricky Williams visits Portland to advertise new cannabis-lifestyle brand

On Wednesday, NFL legend and 1998 Heisman trophy winner Ricky Williams visited Portland to promote his new cannabis-lifestyle brand, called “Highsman.” He started the brand out of Oregon late last year.

According to Williams, Highsman is about more than just cannabis. A portion of the money he makes off merchandise is donated to mental health organizations, including Athletes for Care. He said he hopes to break the stigma around weed and create positive change in the industry.

To locate dispensaries that carry Highsman products and learn about future meet and greets with Williams, visit Highsman.com.

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