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HPERS to sponsor October 30 talk about opioid addiction

ISSUED: 16 October 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The personal story of a local man whose life has been impacted by the opioid epidemic will be highlighted during a special lecture sponsored by the Shepherd University Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Sport Studies (HPERS) on Monday, October 30, at 6 p.m. in the Erma Ora Byrd auditorium. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature retired City of Hagerstown police officer Kevin Simmers, who lost his daughter to drug addiction.

After Brooke Simmers died of a drug overdose in 2015, Simmers and his wife, Dana, turned to advocacy in an effort to raise awareness of the drug addiction and heroin problem in the region. Their goal is to build a long-term, residential treatment facility in the Smithsburg, Maryland, area for young women suffering from addiction. During the talk, which is part of a HPERS course on substance use and abuse taught by adjunct professor Lisa Downie, Simmers will discuss his personal challenges in getting his daughter treatment and overcoming her death. 

The HPERS department will also present Simmers with a donation of $300 at the conclusion of his presentation from the Vince Gonino Fund to help with the construction of Brooke’s House. Dr. Stacey Kendig, department chair, said this is one small way for HPERS faculty and students to give back to community and help fight drug addiction.

For more information, contact Kendig at

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