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HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition summit on heroin epidemic  to address drug-prescribing practices, access to addiction treatment
Anastasia Tuskey
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HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition summit on heroin epidemic to address drug-prescribing practices, access to addiction treatment

The 2016 HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition Community Summit will provide important information about the implementation of Illinois’ groundbreaking Heroin Crisis Act that includes provisions to address the overuse of prescription painkillers.

The summit is scheduled from 8 a.m. until noon, April 29 at the Edward Hospital Athletic and Event Center in Romeoville. Part of the discussion will focus on a root cause of the heroin epidemic facing our nation: the over-prescribing of powerfully addictive medicines to treat chronic pain.

Noting that 40 Americans die each day from an overdose of prescription painkillers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidelines urging physicians to dramatically restrict their prescriptions for powerful and addictive drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. Likewise, the Illinois Heroin Crisis Act, which requires improved data collection for heroin overdoses, also mandates enhanced tracking of prescriptions for opiate painkillers to prevent people from medication shopping for controlled substances.

This year’s community summit will break down the Heroin Crisis Act and examine how it will interface with the CDC guidelines. Representatives from a number of state agencies will present at the summit.

Kennedy Forum Illinois Executive Director Kelly O’Brien will serve as the moderator. In addition, Illinois Health and Family Services, Pharmacy Services, Bureau Chief, Mark Huston, and Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Director Maria Bruni will address changes in Medicaid requirements for treatment as well as programs and initiatives to support the new law.

“We are fortunate to have Kelly O’Brien at this year’s event,” said Paul Lauridsen, event chairman. “Kelly has an extensive background in affecting public opinion and change. As executive director of the Kennedy Forum Illinois, Kelly is working to drive change in our healthcare system as it relates to mental health and addictions.”

Four  free continuing education units are provided for many professions including educators; physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals; social work and professional counselors; and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery support professionals.

For more information, visit the website: www.herohelpsevent.com

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