Fighting Back Against Diseases Of Devastation

What are diseases of devastation? How did the current opioid epidemic begin and why has it grown so aggressively? What role do pharmaceutical companies and market-based medicine play in the proliferation of opioid prescriptions?

Of concern to registered nurses is that drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury and death in the United States — claiming 350,000 lives over the past two decades, with 47,000 deaths in 2017 alone. Twenty seven states have sued the pharmaceutical companies behind the opioid explosion. Yet, people who are in dire need of healthcare and treatment are targeted and penalized for opioid use. As opioids claim lives from nearly every gender, race, ethnicity, and community in the United States, disparate treatment and police responses to the epidemic expose deep-seated race-based fault lines in the U.S. health care and criminal justice systems. Opioid use disorder should be treated as a public health issue. By comparing the opioid crisis with similar diseases of devastation, nurses will analyze the opioid epidemic as a symptom of the outsized influence of Big Pharma in our broken, for-profit health care system.

The class will conclude with discussion of systemic interventions nurses can take to heal diseases of devastation and protect nurses’ professional judgment.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this class, participants will be able to: 

  • Describe diseases of devastation, specifically the opioid epidemic.
  • Discuss the role of rising drug prices, “me too” drugs, and race in opioid treatment policy.
  • Compare and contrast registered nurses’ role in advocating for robust public health measures with the pharmaceutical industry’s exploitation of public health.
  • Explain how nurses’ advocacy for systemic public health interventions — like Medicare for All and others — can counter Big Pharma’s hold on our health care system.

All class times 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, additional hour available.


August 1, 2019
Monterey Marriott
350 Calle Principal, Monterey CA 93940
Garden Grove
August 6, 2019
Anaheim Marriott Suites
12015 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove CA 92840
La Jolla
August 8, 2019
Sheraton La Jolla
3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla CA 92037
San Francisco
August 20, 2019
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
335 Powell Street, San Francisco CA 94102
Santa Clarita
September 9, 2019
Residence Inn by Marriott Santa Clarita Valencia
25320 The Old Road, Santa Clarita CA 91381
Santa Rosa
October 22, 2019
Courtyard by Marriott Santa Rosa
175 Railroad Street, Santa Rosa CA 95401
San Mateo
October 29, 2019
San Mateo Marriott
1770 South Amphlett Boulevard, San Mateo CA 94402
October 31, 2019
Sheraton Grand Hotel
1230 J Street, Sacramento CA 95814
November 5, 2019
Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro
733 W Madison Street, Chicago IL 60661
Silver Spring
November 8, 2019
NNU Office
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 1100, Silver Spring MD 20910
November 14, 2019
CNA Headquarters
155 Grand Avenue, Oakland CA 94612
Santa Clara
November 15, 2019
Santa Clara Marriott
2700 Mission College Boulevard, Santa Clara CA 95054
Long Beach
November 19, 2019
Long Beach Marriott
4700 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach CA 90815
San Bernardino
November 21, 2019
Hilton Garden Inn San Bernardino
1755 S Waterman Avenue, San Bernardino CA 92408
December 5, 2019
DoubleTree by Hilton Newark-Fremont
39900 Balentine Drive, Newark CA 94560
Santa Monica
December 11, 2019
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica
1707 Fourth Street, Santa Monica CA 90401
Marina del Rey
December 13, 2019
Marina del Rey Marriott
4100 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey CA 90292