ATLANTA – A record number of more than 1,900 of the nation’s top researchers, law enforcement officials, advocates and policy-makers convened for the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, which ended March 31, 2016, in Atlanta.
During those 67 hours, the Summit’s “Life Counts Clock” revealed an estimated 201 deaths due to opioid-related overdoses – adding urgency to the need to find a comprehensive, multi-faceted solution.
“Together, we have made some very important strides in the last few years, but we are in a race against the clock to save lives,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, founding co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. “Hundreds of passionate, resourceful leaders attended this summit to help shift this clock in reverse, so we can start counting the number of lives we save and illuminate hope in the midst of an otherwise dark world of addiction.”
Key highlights from the Summit include:
- USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a series of town hall meetings and $1.4 million in funding available through its Rural Health and Safety Education competitive grants program.
- President Barack Obama participated in a panel discussion on Tuesday. It is the first time a President has participated in the Summit, and he included several new federal initiatives in his remarks.
- For the first time, the Summit expanded the number of breakout sessions to include an educational track focused specifically on heroin-related topics.
“The level of collaboration and learning at this year’s Summit was unprecedented – from our record number of attendees to the top officials in virtually every leading health and drug abuse agency, to the President of the United States, and everyone in between,” said Nancy Hale, President/CEO for Operation UNITE, the Summit’s organizer.
“The Summit succeeded in bringing together key advocates, treatment providers, policy-makers and law enforcement to work together to create a multi-faceted solution to this troubling epidemic,” Hale said.
Attendees represented 49 states, the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories (Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands) and four countries in addition to the United States – Canada (British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec provinces), Kenya, Lebanon and Taiwan.
The National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit will return to The Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta on April 17-20, 2017.
The National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is the largest national collaboration of federal, state and local professionals seeking to address prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion.