UCLA and Zócalo Public Square will host a disccussion on what can be done to stop what's been called the worst drug crisis in U.S. history, with death rates rivaling the AIDS scourge at its peak.

UCLA legal scholar and health policy expert Jill Horwitz; Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Benjamin Barron; Larissa Mooney, director of the UCLA Addiction Medicine Clinic; and Sam Quinones, author of "Dreamland: True Tales of America’s Opiate Epidemic," visit Zócalo to discuss America’s opioid epidemic.

Since 1999, overdose deaths driven by opioids from heroin to prescription pain relievers have nearly quadrupled, crossing age, race, socioeconomic status, and geography. In 12 states, the Centers for Disease Control counted more opioid prescriptions than people. Communities are pushing primary care physicians to incorporate treatment into their practice, seeking greater regulation of pain medicine prescriptions, and advocating for mandatory counseling and drug testing for those who seek help.

As caregivers cast about for effective solutions, how viable are alternative approaches such as intensive therapy and medicinal marijuana? What is driving the surge in addiction, and what does it say about the rest of us?

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Downtown Independent, located at 251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Parking information is available here.