Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit
The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is where solutions are formulated, stakeholders from Federal to family convene, and change begins. It is the most influential annual gathering for stakeholders to discuss what is working in prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
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Atlanta, Georgia, April 18-21, 2022
2021 Virtual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit
We removed the barriers of travel and uncertainty to make the 2021 Rx Summit education more accessible. In a time where “what’s next” is unknown, one thing is sure – we must come together to formulate solutions.
We hope you were able to join us for the most influential annual conference addressing the worsening opioid and addiction crisis.
This year’s dynamic, comprehensive conference included:
- 300+ speakers leading the discussions
- 75+ sessions led by multi-disciplinary experts with live question & answer time
- Remarks from President Joe Biden
- Exclusive keynote with Dan Schneider from Netflix’s The Pharmacist
- 4 days of live education and networking
- 9 Educational topics from which to choose sessions
- Bipartisan comments from 9 members of the U.S. House and 7 members of the U.S. Senate
- Insight from 2 Governors and a First Lady
Highlights of the 2021 Rx Summit
Over these last 10 years we have won battles, regrouped as the enemy gathered new forces, and fought back with science, faith, community and country.
Karen Perry, founder of the Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education (NOPE) Task Force and member of the first Rx Summit National Advisory Board, is recipient of the 2021 Hal Rogers Beacon of Hope Award.
Where there is help, there is hope.
Addiction touches families in every community. … The crisis is national, but the struggle is personal, deeply personal.
There has never been a more detrimental time for our work to continue. … There is power in the expansive reach of this life-saving movement. … Our multi-pronged approach remains the most successful path forward.
This isn’t a fight that is won in a day. … We must slow the distribution of drugs within our communities, but we must also fund recovery and treatment programs that our people desperately need and deserve.
We have lost far too many lives to addiction. … Your efforts for prevention and healing are providing hope for future generations, and your work is making a difference.
• We lost the war on drugs. This is a war on addiction.
• A lot of good people get trapped in an addiction. … When kids overdose and die, there is a shame.
• America has got to wake up, we’ve got to stand up. … Our country has to take this seriously. We have to push aside stigma.
• It’s a challenge to motivate and mobilize individuals. People need to stand up, say something, be on the alert, write their congressman, dispose of their prescription drugs properly, or be a speaker. They need to say ‘my kids might be next,’ not ‘it’s not my kid.’
National Voices: The View from the Hill, Part 1
Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers
(R) Kentucky 5th
Rep. Tom Cole
(R) Oklahoma 4th
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Sen. Marsha Blackburn
Sen. Roy Blunt
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
(R) West Virginia
Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD
Sen. Joe Manchin
(D) West Virginia
Sen. Ed Markey
Science is extraordinary. Hopefully we can achieve an equivalent success with lessons learned from the response to the COVID -19 pandemic.
Organizations bring the science into the communities. Coordination of the effort is fundamental to success.
We have the capacity to work together. We are resilient.
Through NIH HEAL, we have done pretty good at finding creative ways to bring people together for pain treatment research, vaccine studies, developing an OUD risk measure tool for pharmacists, continuing clinical studies, seeking interventions to social inequities, and studying a new approach to care for babies born exposed to opioids.
Maritime security is national security.
Among the most challenging activities to combat are the illicit activities that take place on the high seas in transporting illicit drugs. The part that the Coast Guard plays … is to interdict these drugs before they reach the U.S. shores.
In any given year … your Coast Guard and our partners account for almost four times the total quantity of cocaine seized by all other law enforcement agencies in the entire country combined.
The interdiction of these drugs represents the enduring commitment of the broader U.S. government team to enhance regional security in the Western Hemisphere as well as within our own communities in the United States.
While there are so many reasons to be concerned about the trajectory of the overdose epidemic in the United States, there are an equal number of reasons for hope:
- To those in recovery, we need your voices and we need them loudly — your lived experiences, your stories from despair, to hope.
- We are not operating in the dark. We are applying the public health tools available to us to understand the epidemic – how it is changing, who is at risk, and where we need to focus our interventions.
- We know so much more about risk and protective factors and what works to prevent addiction and overdose than we ever have before. Now our charge is to translate this knowledge into action and into community … through a comprehensive, public health approach.
- Although the pandemic represents the public health challenge of our lifetime, it has also spurred innovations and highlighted opportunities that we can leverage as the nation moves forward.
The good news is addiction policy is bipartisan.
We are losing people in the prime of their lives. … We must stop this heart-breaking and seemingly endless loss – and soon.
If trends hold, soon we could be looking at six-figure overdose deaths in a single year for the first time. (Those who have died are not just statistics), each represents a connection we could have made, or tried to make, but didn’t.
Over the long term, we have to take the necessary steps to build an infrastructure to provide quality treatment services for people with substance use disorders, while supporting recovery and preventing addiction.
We have to look at a truly excended continuum of care. We have to address the larger issue of addiction in America. … We can’t just do the same old thing. We can’t just chase the drug of the day.
The current rate of overdose deaths in this country is the equivalent of a 737 jet crashing every 24 hours. … But there is promising news. Opioid prescription rates have continued to decline since 2012, and opioid sales to retail distributors continue to decline as well. This is directly because of you and the work you do in your community, law enforcement efforts, and regulatory enforcement.
Participation in Take-Back Day is a simple action that every adult in America can take to make a real difference.in the opioid crisis. When you prevent others from finding extra pills around the house, which can start them on the road to addition, you are making a difference.
Not all communities in America are facing the same challenges. … So, at DEA, we tailored our approach. In February we launched Operation Engage. Through it we’re supporting local communities and addressing the specific drug problem affecting their area.
At SAMHSA we work to help America understand that behavioral health is essential to health, that prevention works, intervention is critical, treatment is effective, and that people can and do recover. People just like me. … I’m honored to bring my lived experience to leading SAMHSA.
Opioid use disorder (has) far-reaching consequences, reaching beyond the individual impact to families, work places, health systems, entire communities. It was, and continues, to span generations.
Imagine the recovery ripple of the 21-plus million people who consider themselves to be in recovery. If you can imagine this, we can imagine and then create a healthier America.
Effective response to the epidemic requires passion and tenacity. We’re bringing big armies together … but we need to have a call to action.
It might not be obvious why the U.S. Secretary of State is joining a conversation about America’s opioid and addiction crisis. … Our country’s addiction crisis comes up in my work a great deal. The scope of the crisis is staggering. … The (numbers) represent an enormous amount of suffering by those who died from a cruel disease, the loved ones left behind, communities ravaged by addiction.
The opioid crisis helps drive cycles of poverty, violence, despair. It’s a public health crisis and an economic crisis. It’s also a national security crisis.
Disrupting the flow of opioids – especially synthetic opioids like fentanyl – is an urgent national priority, and it requires intensive diplomacy and global cooperation.
Ultimately, the most powerful way to fight the global illicit drug trade is to reduce the demand for illicit drugs. This is the definition of a crisis that no single country, state, agency, community or family can solve on its own.
National Voices: The View from the Hill, Part 2
Rep. Michael C. “Mike” Burgess, MD
(R) Texas 26th
Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD
(R) Indiana 8th
Rep. Betty McCollum
(D) Minnesota 4th
Rep. Markwayne Mullin
(R) Oklahoma 2nd
Rep. Lori Trahan
(D) Massachusetts 3rd
Rep. David Trone
(D) Maryland 6th
My story is living proof that this disease does not discriminate. Addiction affects every age, gender, ethnicity, and tax bracket. So, we must always work to help others understand that this disease can happen to anyone. We also need to celebrate the successes of recovery whenever we can and be courageous in ending stigma.
There is a simple solution that you can all participate in to end the stigma of addiction and empower recovery. The simple solution is talk. Talk about how addiction and recovery has impacted your life or the life of someone you know. The more we normalize these conversations the more stigma will be eliminated, and more people will seek treatment, find recovery, and more lives will be saved.
We’ve seen the opioid crisis morph from one that focused on prescription drugs to an emergency that increasingly involves illicit drugs, including some extraordinarily potent and dangerous versions of these substances. … The complexity of addressing poly-substance use makes our efforts all the more important.
Some of the efforts include:
- Developing patient-focused technologies, such as the use of tele-health services.
- Developing a better framework for medical prescribing.
- Strengthening messaging in drug labeling.
- Encouraging healthcare professionals to discuss the need for Naloxone with opioid prescriptions.
- Improving provider education and training.
- Cracking down on the illicit market for diverted opioids and illegal drugs in order to secure the supply chain for legitimate medications.
Our goal is to provide more Americans who suffer from opioid use disorder with more options and greater support and less stigma.
I am a pharmacist, so I know from first-hand experience how opioids have affected our communities.
The (COVID-related) shutdown of our daily life, increased stress, lack of social interaction, and sickness or death of family members has truly wreaked havoc on our communities.
We should build upon the successes we’ve had during the pandemic – like tele-health. (Making the flexibilities permanent) would have a profound impact on the ability of individuals to get care and help without traveling to the doctor.
We have learned to put our knowledge, faith and ideals into action. It was perseverance and resilience – or as we say in Appalachia, grit and faith – that has made us successful and will carry us through in this struggle and crisis we know as the opioid epidemic.
Photo from a Plenary session at the 2019 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, GA
About the Rx Summit
The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is the largest collaboration of professionals and advocates who have been impacted by Rx opioid abuse/diversion and heroin use.
Attendees should include: Counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists, and interventionists; physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists; advocates, families, and people in recovery; law enforcement personnel; public health and prevention officials; federal, state, and local officials, and lawmakers; education specialists and researchers; treatment center owners and operators; attorneys; first responders; and business leaders.
Through this type of collaboration, your work can be more impactful in bringing solutions to this issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a public health crisis in 2012.
2020 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit
The 2020 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit was held virtually because of restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the nation-wide lockdown, the Summit brought together more than 3,300 people from across the globe, representing all 50 states. The Rx Summit included more than 75 presentations led by national experts and more than 200 faculty members.