ATLANTA (April 26, 2019) — A record number of more than 3,500 of the nation’s top researchers, law enforcement officials, advocates and policy-makers convened for the 8th Annual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, which ended yesterday in Atlanta.
“The level of participation at this year’s Rx Summit was unprecedented. The impressive lineup of officials participating in the Summit this year, including President Trump and the First Lady, underscores the gravity of the opioid crisis and the government’s commitment to fighting it,” said U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), founder of Operation UNITE, the original organizer of and now educational partner for the Summit. “The meeting is indeed a reflection of our ongoing determination and dedication to getting ahead of this crisis.”
Key highlights from the Rx Summit include:
- More than 3,500 in attendance – a record number for the Summit. Participants hailed from all 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico.
- President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump addressed the Rx Summit on Wednesday, April 24. Trump is the second sitting president to deliver an address. President Barack Obama spoke in 2016. Melania Trump is the only first lady to participate in the Rx Summit.
- The Summit was covered by nearly 100 media outlets.
- The National Institutes of Health gave an update on the HEAL Initiative, which was announced at last year’s Summit. An investment of $850 million is being made in Fiscal Year 2019 on research to prevent and treat opioid addiction as well as create new pain management methods that are effective but non-addictive. In addition, the new HEALing Communities Study will occur in four states with the ambitious goal of reducing opioid-related deaths by 40 percent over three years.
- Five members of Congress, U.S. Representatives Hal Rogers (R-KY), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and David Trone (D-MD), addressed attendees, where they shared the latest information on federal policy and legislation, and expressed a united, bipartisan goal for more life-saving solutions to the opioid public health crisis.
- James W. Carroll, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and leaders from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Kentucky state justice cabinet agreed that law enforcement is one component in fighting the opioid epidemic, but there must be collaboration in improving health, treatment, and education efforts.
The 2019 program delivered practical, evidence-based education and actionable takeaways in 12 key areas, from National Policy Action to Prevention Strategies.
“It was a powerful four days of programming, networking, and idea exchange, and from my conversations with participants, it was the most valuable meeting to date,” said Nancy Hale, president and CEO, Operation UNITE, the educational advisor for the Summit. “This year, the Rx Summit hosted registrants from communities across the United States and several countries. The education delivered here will no doubt better equip these communities to battle the opioid pandemic. We are on the right path!”
“The toll of addiction, from lost lives to broken families, touches nearly every community. This year’s Summit continued to focus on bringing the best minds together to discuss what’s working in prevention, treatment, and law enforcement in order to restore hope and save lives,” said Doug Edwards, director, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Learning Network, part of HMP, the producer of the meeting. “It is incredibly rewarding to know that we are playing a role by bringing so many groups together to find solutions.”
Next year’s Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville on April 13-16, 2020. It will be the first year that the Summit will be held in Nashville.
Founded in 2012, the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is now the largest national gathering of professionals from “federal to family:” local, state and, federal agencies, public health officials, business executives, academia, treatment providers, advocates, law enforcement, and family members working to find solutions that address the prescription drug abuse and misuse epidemic. The meeting is produced by HMP, a leader in healthcare events and education.
To stay informed about Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit updates, visit rx-summit.com, and follow Rx Summit on Facebook and Twitter @RxSummit.