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Battling Opioid Addiction with Knowledge: Opioid Summit Successfully Trains 400

 os-trained-400-1STATESVILLE NC, March 1, 2016— On Friday, March 11, Partners Health Management and the NC Council of Community Programs tackled North Carolina’s opioid epidemic by training 400 local doctors, healthcare providers, first responders, law enforcement officers, parole officers and county health department personnel at its first-ever Opioid Summit.

The misuse of and abuse of opioids–narcotic medications most commonly used for pain–is one of the fastest growing epidemics in our society today. Opioid addiction can lead to emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms that affect both users and their families.

“Partners is committed to improving lives and strengthening communities,” said Rhett Melton, CEO of Partners Health Management. “We provided this training conference for the people on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. We need their help to turn this trend around.”

The free summit offered 17 presentations focused on early identification of substance use disorders, overdose reversal strategies, medication-assisted treatment procedures, alternative pain management options, and the latest best practices in the prescribing of opioids.  Dr. Thomas McLellan, a leader in addiction research and co-founder and chairman of the Board of Directors for the Treatment Research Institute, provided the keynote address.  His presentation “Why Integrate Addiction Care into Mainstream Medicine?” referenced current best practices in matching individualized outpatient care to the unique needs of the person in treatment.

“The summit was an educational opportunity for me,” said Paula Gabriel, a certified substance abuse counselor intern. “What has stood out throughout all of the sessions is the ways of connecting substance use treatment with primary care medicine to treat the whole person.”

Participants were also able to learn about the struggles of addiction from three people living with a substance use disorder.  The Voices of Recovery session represented a combined 74 years of recovery. All three speakers worked, or currently work, to help others learn to live life without drugs.

“We ask people ‘What is recovery?’ It is getting back what you have lost. And you never know when the time will come that someone wants to get clean. We have be ready and be there when they are ready (to start treatment),” said Cornelia Pringle, a panel member and licensed clinical addiction specialist.