Forum: Idaho's Opioid Crisis
Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 11:45 am- 1:15 pm
The Grove Hotel, Ballroom 2nd floor
Alex Adams , Monica Forbes , Dr. Eric Nelson
The growing abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers, a class of drugs known as opioids, is quickly becoming Idaho’s largest health crisis. As recently as 2015, abuse of drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin killed more than 17,500 people nationwide.


Idaho faces a growing crisis right at home. In 2014, 63 people in Idaho died of drug overdose, with 60 percent of those deaths attributed specifically to opioid abuse, according to state and federal data.


In a recent survey of Treasure Valley residents, Boise State University found that people here are more concerned about the opioid crisis than domestic violence and sexual assault.


To discuss the issue, we’ve assembled a panel of medical professionals, policy experts and treatment specialists to help explain how we got here, what we can do, and what the future might hold for Idahoans who are involved.



- Alex Adams, director of the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy

- Monica Forbes, Administrator for PEER Wellness Center

- Eric Nelson, MD, DDS, Oral Surgeon


Speaker Biographies:


Alex J. Adams, PharmD, MPH

-Executive Director, Idaho Board of Pharmacy


Alex Adams, PharmD, MPH, is Executive Director of the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy. In this capacity, his primary role is to promote, preserve and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by and through the effective control and regulation of the practice of pharmacy in the state of Idaho. Prior to this, he served as Vice President of Pharmacy Programs at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), a Washington, DC-area trade association that represents 40,000 pharmacies in the United States. Dr. Adams received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of Toledo, graduating as class valedictorian. He received his Masters of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Adams was honored with the Albert B. Prescott Pharmacy Leadership Award in 2015. Dr. Adams has been Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy since August of 2015.


Monica Forbes

-Administrator for PEER Wellness Center


Monica Forbes is the founder of PEER Wellness Center, Idaho’s first Recovery Community Center located in Boise. PEER stands for People Empowering Everybody in Recovery. PEER Wellness Center is a recovery community center that exists to advocate for and support individuals seeking to initiate or maintain recovery from behavioral health and/or substance abuse issues. Forbes is herself in long-term recovery. She is the Administrator for PEER Wellness Center, Inc., which operates five of the nine Idaho Recovery Community Centers. She holds two degrees, in Medical Assisting and Social Work and is certified as a Recovery Coach, Peer Support Specialist, a Free2Succeed Mentor, NIDA Addiction Policy Forum Trainer, SMART Recovery Group Facilitator and CRAFT Therapist (Community Reinforcement and Family Training). She is on the Honor Roll as she works towards a Master’s Degree in Psychology with a focus on Addictions and volunteers on several boards and committees in the community. Her passion is working with individuals and community stakeholders to affect systemic change and remove barriers to long-term recovery. Monica is the recipient of the 2016 Region IV Advocate for Recovery award.


Eric Nelson, DDS, MD


Dr. Eric W. Nelson completed his medical degree at Vanderbilt University. His general surgery internship and maxillofacial residency program were completed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he also served as chief resident of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department from 1998 – 1999. At the University of Utah Dr. Nelson completed his Bachelor of Science degree and earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Iowa.


Dr. Nelson is board certified and a diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He has served as the delegate to the American Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons from Idaho, representing all of Idaho’s Oral surgeons. He also assists with anesthesia peer review in the state of Idaho. He has been on faculty with Idaho State University teaching dental graduates advanced training here in Boise. Dr. Nelson is a member of both St. Luke’s and St. Alphonsus facial trauma teams. He’s also member of the American dental Association and the Idaho State dental Association. Dr. Eric W. Nelson is a native of Idaho and is licensed as both a medical doctor at the dentist in the State of Idaho.


Join us Wednesday, February 21st at 11:45 at the Grove Hotel for this engaging topic!


Resources: Guest Opinion Essay by Shaw-Tulloch: Idaho is Grappling With Opioid Addiction


Listen to this recording on Boise State Public Radio


Don't want to wait until the day of the forum to jot down your questions? Submit questions for this forum in advance through this link. The moderator will review them prior to the forum and present to the panel at their discretion.


Special Thanks to our Forum Sponsors: Optum Idaho and St. Luke's Health Systems



City Club thanks our Premier Sponsor, AARP of Idaho and our annual sponsors, including Northwest Nazarene University, and Idaho Humanities Council. This Forum Series is sponsored by the contributions made by Micron, Perkins Coie, and Echelon Group. We are pleased to welcome university students to attend our events thanks to our University partners Boise State University and University of Idaho. Our media partners include Idaho Public Television, Peppershock Media, 670 KBOI, and Boise State Public Radio.



Chair: Shea Andersen
Moderator: Kevin Richert
Underwriters: Optum Idaho, St. Luke's Health System