Mark Birdwhistell

UK Discusses Potential to End Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse at National Summit

April 17, 2017

Addiction researchers, clinicians, intervention coordinators and health policy leaders representing the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare will lead workshops and discuss initiatives to combat the opioid crisis during the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit this week in Atlanta.

The following UK and UK HealthCare representatives will participate as presenters and moderators in the following sessions

  • Sharon Walsh, director of the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR) and professor of behavioral science, pharmacology and psychiatry at the UK College of Medicine, will moderate a workshop titled, “Getting to Zero Overdose Deaths through Collective Impact.” The workshop takes place on Monday, April 17, at 3 p.m. on the sixth floor in Chastain F
  • An interdisciplinary team of researchers will present a vision session on the PATHways (Perinatal Assessment and Treatment Home) clinic, a novel intervention tailored for pregnant women with opioid use disorders and implemented at the UK HealthCare Polk-Dalton Clinic. The PATHways program provides women with perinatal care and resources, peer support, group education, and opioid maintenance therapy during the transformational stages of pregnancy and motherhood. Presenters include Kristin Ashford, associate professor and assistant dean of research in the UK College of NursingAgatha Critchfield, an obstetrician and assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine; Lori Shook, professor of pediatrics and Kentucky Children’s Hospital neonatologist; Michelle Lofwall, professor of psychiatry and researcher in the CDAR; and Sharon Walsh, director of the CDAR. The session takes place Tuesday, April 18, at 8 a.m. on the seventh floor in Augusta 1-2
  • Mark D. Birdwhistell, UK HealthCare vice president for administration and external affairs, will moderate the session, “Physicians Leading the Fight in the Clinic and the Statehouse.” The session takes place on Tuesday, April 18, at 2 p.m. on the seventh floor in Augusta C, D.
  • TK Logan, professor in Department of Behavioral Science and researcher in the CDAR, will present research in the session, “Buprenorphine among Substance Use Disorder Treatment Clients and in Abstinence-Based Treatment.” The session takes place Wednesday, April 19, at 3:15 p.m. on the sixth floor in Chastain F.


National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, April 17-20, in Atlanta. The National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, treatment providers, and allied communities impacted by prescription drug abuse and heroin use. The Summit began in 2012 under the leadership of Operation UNITE and U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-5th).


Other UK representatives in attendance include UK President Eli Capilouto; Lisa Cassis, vice president for research at UK; Donna Arnett, dean of the UK College of Public Health; and Eric King, UK federal relations. UK HealthCare sponsored the summit, which is now in its fifth year.

The University of Kentucky is leading the charge to combat prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction in America. Last year alone, investigators in the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research received $9.6 million for projects dedicated to substance abuse and addiction. Since 2010, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse has awarded more than $92 million to UK research projects.

“The opioid epidemic is far-reaching and multi-faceted, leaving a void in each family and community it scars. Kentucky families, and communities throughout Appalachia, know the devastation and havoc of addiction. That’s why this question is critical to UK researchers who lead the research, health care and policy questions surrounding opioid abuse,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “UK is uniquely positioned to confront these questions because of its multi-disciplinary research endeavors, leading academic medical center and regional referral network deployed to confront the scourge of opioids. We’re committed to working in – and with – communities to help navigate the complex nature of critical policy changes and effective health care implementation.”

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Page last updated: 7/21/2017 5:01:07 PM