Counselor from A&E's Intervention to appear in St. Petersburg Oct. 25, talking prescription drug addiction
Fans know him as the straight-talking counselor with an amusing habit of using the same phrases again and again.
But author, motivational speaker, onetime pastor and counselor Jeff VanVonderen also leads A&E's hit series Intervention, giving viewers a different, up close look at the pain of addiction.
And next week, he'll bring that no-nonsense attitude to St. Petersburg for a panel discussion to talk about the substance abuse issue which has reached a crisis point in Florida: prescription drug addiction.
VanVonderen appears next Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg, topping a panel of area notables talking about prescription drug abuse. NPR has called Florida "the epicenter of a prescription drug abuse epidemic," noting that the state's doctors prescribe 10 times the number of oxycodone pills prescribed by doctors in other states combined. See their report here.
The St. Petersburg Times said last year prescription drug abuse kills seven Floridians a day. See that report here.
Moderated by Bay News 9 anchor Veronica Cintron, the event also features State Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), Pinellas County drug court Judge Dee Anna Farnell and Robert L. Neri, a senior vice president at the network of non-profit treatment centers, WestCare.
Attendees, which will include students, parents, law enforcement experts and treatment center providers, will see a screening of an episode of Intervention along with the discussion.
The event begins with a reception at 5 p.m., program starts at 6 p.m.; local cablenewschannel Bay News 9 will record the discussion for later broadcast at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. A&E, Bright House and WestCare serve as sponsors. The Coliseum is located at 535 4th Ave. North, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 329-2783 to RSVP.
See a clip of VanVonderen talking about the show here.