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President Obama to Speak at Drug Abuse Summit 2016

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ATLANTA – Destination Hope will be exhibiting at the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, which runs from March 28 through March 31 at The Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel in downtown Atlanta.

The Summit is the largest national collaboration of federal, state and local professionals seeking to address prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion.

This year, the Summit has expanded its focus to address the emerging heroin crisis, which has been linked to the prescription drug problem. President Barack Obama announced March 22, that he will speak at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, March 29. This follows his visit last year to West Virginia, where he announced a number of new public and private sector actions to address the epidemic, including a Presidential Memorandum on prescriber training and opioid use disorder treatment.

As part of these efforts, on March 15 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain to help primary care providers — who account for prescribing nearly half of all opioid prescriptions — ensure the safest and most effective treatment for their patients.

President Obama will address Summit attendees during a General Session Town Hall, time to be announced.

The President has made clear that addressing this epidemic is a priority for his Administration and put forward a request earlier this year for $1.1 billion in new funding-most of which would go directly to States – to ensure that every American who wants treatment can get the help they need.

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“We are honored that President Obama will participate in the important discussion of combating prescription drug abuse and the heroin crisis,” said Nancy Hale, President/CEO for Operation UNITE, the Summit’s organizer. “His presence will help focus the nation’s attention on the drug epidemic that is devastating families and communities across the country.”

“By bringing together the top professionals across the spectrum, we are advancing a much-needed, multi-faceted approach to combating the drug abuse epidemic across the country,” said Nancy Hale, President/CEO for Operation UNITE, the Summit’s organizer. By sharing those resources and expertise, Destination Hope is helping fight this epidemic by working to create a solution that will save lives, families and entire communities.”

More than 1,600 of the nation’s top researchers, law enforcement, advocates and policy-makers will participate.

Other keynote and general session speakers include:

  • Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture
  • U. S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers, R-Kentucky 5th District, Chair, Committee on Appropriations
  • Michael P. Botticelli, Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Robert M. Califf, Commissioner, United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Dr. Eli Capilouto, President, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Kana Enomoto, Acting Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
  • Chuck Rosenberg, Acting Administrator, United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  • A forum featuring Congressional leaders

In addition, break-out sessions will focus on issues such as how drug treatment courts are providing an alternative to incarceration, preventing Hepatitis C and HIV outbreaks, early identification of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs and ADHD medication among youth. To properly address the issue, the 2016 Summit has expanded the number of breakout sessions to include an educational track focused specifically on heroin-related topics.

The Appalachian Regional Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also will have an interactive exhibit for attendees to create six-word stories, snap photos of themselves and their stories at the exhibit photo booth, and share using hashtags #RxSummit and #RxProblem. Those photos, as well as daily coverage of the Summit can be found on the Summit’s Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

For more information on the Summit, visit

Photo by Pete Souza at Official White House

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