Coming Together to Address Opioid Misuse and Abuse

Key Takeaways from the #RxSummit

Earlier this month, Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) joined other stakeholders who are dedicated to combating opioid abuse and the heroin epidemic at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit (Rx Summit) in Atlanta, Ga. To be among the 3,000 people who gathered with the singular focus of addressing this devastating public health crisis was a powerful experience.

At the Rx Summit, which AAOA sponsored, we engaged with hundreds of attendees who are on the frontlines, working to combat opioid abuse in their communities. We learned about local programs and discussed collaboration opportunities with state and national organizations. We also attended the panels and plenary sessions to learn about the inspiring work being done across the country.

At the opening session, Rep. Hal Rogers (Ky.) welcomed the attendees by saying, “You have made this issue a priority in the workplace, in our homes and in the community, and your work matters. It takes people from every discipline to fight this battle we are in. You are the anchor of hope in your area and for the next generation, and hope is what draws us together every year.”

This sentiment and the importance of bringing people together to address this public health crisis was reiterated by countless speakers throughout the Summit. For example, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Justice Tettey said, “We can end this crisis, but it is going to take all of us working together.”

Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton, the Rx Summit’s keynote speaker, concluded his remarks by saying, “We can do this. And it will be really good for us, because it is about time we did something together again. Last time I checked, anytime we did anything together, we never lost.”

As a partner-based initiative that brings together stakeholders from across the healthcare community, we are seeing firsthand the importance of joining forces. Our partners represent different sectors and stakeholders and provide a unique perspective that informs our work. This collaboration is essential to our mission of addressing the opioid abuse epidemic by bringing together partners to enhance education and raise awareness of the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with opioid use.

After four days at the Rx Summit, the AAOA team left Atlanta energized with a renewed focus on expanding our partnerships; educating consumers, pharmacists and providers; and increasing awareness about how we can all help to prevent the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids. We are looking forward to upcoming events and programs in Brecksville, Ohio and Minneapolis, Minn., where we will engage local leaders and community members in AAOA’s mission — educating about the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids to prevent misuse and abuse.