ATLANTA – The nation’s top researchers, law enforcement, advocates and policy-makers will convene for the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit on March 28 through March 31 at The Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel in downtown Atlanta.

The Summit is the largest national collaboration of federal, state and local professionals seeking to address prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion. This year the Summit has expanded its focus to address the emerging heroin crisis, which has been linked to the Rx drug problem. More than 1,500 people already have registered for the fifth annual summit.

“By bringing together the top professionals across the spectrum, we are advancing a much-needed, multi-faceted approach to combating the drug abuse epidemic across the country,” said Nancy Hale, President/CEO for Operation UNITE, the Summit’s organizer. “An epidemic this entrenched needs everyone sharing his or her expertise to create a solution that will save lives, families and entire communities.”

Keynote and general session speakers include:

  • Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers, R-Kentucky 5th District, Chair, Committee on Appropriations
  • Michael P. Botticelli, Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, United States Surgeon General
  • Dr. Robert M. Califf, Commissioner, United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Dr. Eli Capilouto, President, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Kana Enomoto, Acting Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Chuck Rosenberg, Acting Administrator, United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  • A Forum featuring Congressional leaders

Break-out sessions will focus on issues such as how drug treatment courts are providing an alternative to incarceration, preventing Hepatitis C and HIV outbreaks, early identification of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, community responses to heroin, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs and ADHD medication among youth.

In addition, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have a booth dedicated to collecting personal stories on how drugs have impacted families and communities across the country. Those stories will be shared throughout the event on the Summit’s Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

This marks the first year for the Summit’s name change to include heroin as a reflection of the growing national epidemic. To properly address the issue, the 2016 Summit has expanded the number of breakout sessions to include an educational track focused specifically on heroin-related topics.

“A large number of last year’s attendees expressed an interest in ways they could combat problems associated with heroin’s exponential growth – including unacceptable rates of heroin overdose deaths and outbreaks of Hepatitis C from contaminated needles,” Hale said.