Last week, Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) returned for the second consecutive year to the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit (Rx Summit) in Atlanta, Ga.
The Rx Summit, which AAOA sponsored, brought together more than 3,500 national, state and community leaders from all 50 states to share best practices and success stories about how communities impacted by opioid abuse and misuse are addressing this issue head-on. During the event, stakeholders discussed their efforts to educate patients, caregivers and the medical community around opioid abuse prevention.
AAOA spent four days engaging with attendees who are working to combat opioid abuse in their communities. We shared our resources, including the AAOA Pharmacy Toolkit, as well as the safe storage and disposal fact sheets, and discussed future collaboration opportunities with organizations who are raising awareness about opioid abuse prevention efforts. We also attended panel discussions and plenary sessions to learn about prevention strategies that have been put in place to address misuse and abuse of opioids in the workplace, at community pharmacies and at the federal level.
Notable speakers from this year’s Rx Summit included five members of Congress; Francis Collins, MD, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Robert Redfield, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); as well as First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump.
Rx Summit founder Congressman Hal Rogers (Ky.) welcomed attendees to the 8th annual conference by saying, “(We) were determined eight years ago to reach across state lines and share best practices with other communities looking for life-saving solutions; and each year at this summit, a little more hope shines through as we see shifts in more access to treatment, better policy and legislation, and more prevention programs.”
During his address, Dr. Redfield pointed to several areas that are making a difference to reduce opioid misuse and abuse nationwide, including the recognition that everyone plays a role in the fight to combat the opioid abuse epidemic. “The opioid epidemic is the epidemic of our time,” said Dr. Redfield. “But there is a rock-solid reason to hope. As efforts are expanding, we are seeing a plateau and hopefully a decline.”
President Trump, the Rx Summit’s keynote speaker, started his remarks by thanking the event attendees for their commitment to finding solutions to end the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic by saying, “To all of the people in this room who serve every day on the frontiers and frontlines of this crisis … you have earned the gratitude of our entire nation.”
As we reflect on the inspiring stories and efforts that we heard about during our time at the Rx Summit, there is still significant work ahead to solving the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. AAOA and our partners look forward to continued collaborations across the healthcare supply chain to raise awareness and educate patients, providers, pharmacists and the public about what they can do to help prevent further instances of prescription opioid misuse and abuse.
To learn more about AAOA and our educational efforts and resources, visit www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org.