National Drug Abuse Summit to Address Infectious Disease Consequences of Opioid Crisis
The National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit Exit Disclaimer will take place on April 17-20, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. (The conference is often referred to as the Hal Rogers conference, since the Congressman from Kentucky launched the summit in 2012.) The Summit, which organizers have called the “largest annual conference addressing the opioid crisis,” focuses on finding solutions to that crisis and will bring together professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, addiction treatment providers, and allied communities impacted by prescription drug abuse and heroin use.
We encourage you to follow conversations related to the Summit on Facebook Exit Disclaimer and TwitterExit Disclaimer. Keynote speakers will include: Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, United States Surgeon General, and Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Advocates for Opioid Recovery Founding Advisor.
Dr. Richard Wolitski will represent the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) on a Summit panel addressing the federal response to preventing transmission of viral hepatitis, HIV, and other outbreaks of infectious diseases that are fueled by the opioid epidemic.
The Summit comes at a time when the U.S. opioid epidemic is widely recognized as a threat to our nation’s progress in reducing new HIV infections. It was already a primary driver of the 250% increase in hepatitis C cases from 2010 to 2014, increases in hepatitis B in a number of states, and a well-documented outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Scott County, Indiana. Of great concern are the 220 counties that CDC has identified that have characteristics that may put them at high risk of HIV and hepatitis C outbreaks among PWID. These infections have implications not only for the health of people who inject drugs, but also that of their sex partners and, for pregnant women, their unborn infants.
As the experience in Indiana showed, these outbreaks can be stopped if the right prevention, care, and treatment resources can be provided. These include medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse disorders as well as HIV and viral hepatitis testing, and linkage to prevention, care, and treatment services. CDC, in collaboration with other HHS agencies, has worked to provide technical assistance to states with one or more vulnerable counties to prevent future outbreaks and to recognize and respond to outbreaks quickly and effectively if they do occur. These efforts are critical for moving us closer toward our national HIV and viral hepatitis prevention, care, and treatment goals and for protecting the health and wellbeing of our families and our communities.
Look for more information about the Summit in this space soon.