DAYTON, Ohio – Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was in Dayton Saturday. He came to town to learn about the opioid epidemic and how communities are fighting the crisis.
He spoke with recovering addicts and addiction specialists at CareSource, downtown.
He stopped in Dayton while on a tour across the United States.
CareSource Vice President Cathy Ponitz said her group organized two round-table discussions for Zuckerberg about the opioid epidemic. The first included various community leaders, the second consisted of former addicts who shared their recovery story.
“It was really exciting for us to work with the Zuckerberg team and CZI, his foundation, to really help him get educated on the issues,” Ponitz said.
“He cares, he’s incredibly smart, but he’s also very down to earth.”
Zuckerberg told CareSource officials, he wants to hear about people’s “challenges and hopes”.
“One of the things Mark really wanted to do was have this be a very purposeful, thoughtful, informal conversation,” Ponitz said.
In a Facebook post following the meeting, Zuckerberg noted: “The opioid epidemic is one of the worst public health crises we’ve faced…”
He added: “Everyone in Dayton is affected by this.”
Jonas Thom, also a CareSource VP, said Zuckerberg seemed very sincere in his quest to learn more.
“Mark was very engaged in the conversation the whole time and very sincere about learning both from treatment professionals as well as members of the community, and folks in recovery about what does it take for folks to recover, what can a community do,” Thom said.
Thom said while, the billionaire did not make any specific pledge to help fight the problem, it was great to have the opportunity to connect and talk.
“It was validating, I think, of the work that everybody is doing in Dayton and it’s to really keep that dialogue going,” Thom said.
On Facebook, Zuckerberg said Ohio has a long road ahead but he’s hopeful there will be a resolution to the problem, because we’re talking about.