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SOAR hosting substance-abuse disorder educational and policy event at Pikeville on Oct. 3

Shaping Our Appalachian Region’s Healthy Communities program and the University of Pikeville will host a substance-use disorder education event Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the university’s Kentucky College of Optometry (Health Professionals Education Building).

The meeting is for “health professionals and stakeholders who share the vision of reducing the scope and impact of substance use disorder and related consequences through education, awareness, prevention, and access to services,” SOAR said in a news release. The event is free, but space is limited, so registration is required.

Speakers at the event will provide guidelines based on evidence, “discuss how to integrate prevention and management into practice in a rural setting, and provide resources and tools to help current and future providers in Appalachia turn the tide on the substance use epidemic,” the release says.

The special circumstances of addiction in pregnant women and their children will be discussed by Dr. Connie White, deputy director of the state Department for Public Health; Dr. Allen Brenzel of the Department for Behavioral Health, Development and Intellectual Disabilities; and Jill Martin, of the Hazard Primary Care Centers and Mountain Comprehensive Care Clinic.

The event will include personal stories of addiction and recovery from former basketball star Rex Chapman and others. The audience will hear legislative and regulatory updates from UK HealthCare officials Mark Birdwhistell, Douglas Oyler and Dr. John O’Brien Jr.

“We are facing an opioid crisis in Eastern Kentucky that is threatening our livelihood and way of life,” said Dr. Joshua Crum, associate dean of clinical affairs at the University’s Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. “KYCOM is meeting the challenge put forth by Governor Bevin to fight this epidemic through an inter-professional and collaborative approach known as the Kentucky Addiction Prevention Education program. Partners include the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.”

SOAR was created to advance the economy of Appalachian Kentucky, but it and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “have partnered for more than two years to build a more connected network of health-focused organizations, institutions, federal partners, and individuals in Appalachia,” the release notes.

“Substance-use disorder is a real issue in every community in the SOAR region,” said Jared Arnett, the group’s executive director. “This epidemic has touched every single person in our region in some way, shape, or form. A groundswell of meaningful solutions and best practices has evolved from the work of countless individuals and organizations that are passionate about treating those battling substance-use disorder.”

From Kentucky Health News

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