Lizard Talk with Dr. Hamed Haghnazar

The latest speaker in our 2023-24 Lizard Talk series was Dr. Hamed Haghnazar, who spoke to our high school students about drugs and addiction.

A current resident at Ventura County Medical Center, Hamed is completing his training in Addiction Medicine. He is originally from Lexington, Kentucky, where he studied biology at Transylvania University. He then worked in research while getting a Master’s of Public Health at the University of Kentucky, where he also attended medical school before completing a family medicine residency with the University of Louisville in Owensboro, KY.

Hamed moved to California last summer and shared with our students that it was his personal experience of seeing family members and friends struggle with addiction that inspired him to pursue his new career path. Through addictive medicine he hopes to contribute to implementing preventative measures to help fight addiction and related illnesses and reduce crime.

During his Lizard Talk, Hamed tossed Halloween-sized chocolates out to the crowd of high-school students who answered his questions, quickly bringing them into the conversation. He spoke about the dangers of drugs including opioids, benzodiazepines, and recreational drugs and explained how to identify signs of overdose and actions to take to reverse it. He highlighted different drugs, their effects on the body, and warned against the dangers of mixing them with alcohol or other drugs. Opening the floor to students, who had many questions and concerns, Hamed’s no-nonsense answers reflected his deep knowledge and experience of the subject. He also included real-world examples from his personal life and professional career, showing the risks and heart-breaking outcomes from drug use.

“They call it experimentation because you are literally not sure what the outcome might be. There is no way to be 100% certain whether or not your exposure will drive you to use again. So be mindful that this is a possible consequence, even if you don’t have a family history of addiction.”
– Dr. Haghnazar answers student’s question about drug addiction

Considering the increased danger of experimentation with drugs, especially due to dangerous substances like Fentanyl in the drug supply, it’s more important than ever that high school students have information and resources to keep themselves and their friends safe. We thank Hamed for taking the time to speak with our students and sharing his insight.

Services & Resources

For mental health and substance use services including free Narcan/Kloxxado (to reverse an opioid overdose) and free Fentanyl test strips:

Ventura County Behavioral Health
1911 Williams Dr. #200
Oxnard , CA 93036
866-998-2243 »

About Lizard Talks

The Oak Grove Lizard Talks comprise a series of TED Talk-inspired presentations for our high school students that take place throughout the school year. For each talk a guest speaker visits our campus and tells their story, with topics ranging from professional to deeply personal accounts on a variety of subjects.

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