UK Training Program Emphasizes the Health Provider’s Role in Containing Kentucky’s Opioid Crisis

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2016) — As prescribers, interventionists, emergency responders, and addiction specialists, health care providers are presumptive leaders in devising and implementing solutions to the opioid epidemic.

A continuing education event hosted at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital Pavilion A Auditorium on Oct. 1 will address opioid-related challenges and responsibilities in medical practice and opportunities for providers to make progress toward systemic solutions.

“Tackling the Opioid Epidemic: Challenges, Resources, and Inspirations” presents a series of interactive discussions and lectures from researchers, clinicians, program coordinators, legal experts, and national authorities on heroin and opioid addiction.

During the program, health care professionals will receive an overview of heroin and opioid escalation in Kentucky and across the nation, examine the medical practitioner’s role in the crisis, and learn about evidence-based strategies to control and contain the epidemic. The training will introduce novel therapies for treating addiction, perinatal interventions for substance abuse, lessons in reducing stigma and tips to assure adherence with the law when prescribing opioids.

Keynote speaker Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the chief medical officer of the Phoenix House in Brooklyn, New York, will encourage health care providers to advocate for their patients and Kentucky communities oppressed by substance abuse. Kolodny serves as a senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and the executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), an organization dedicated to reducing morbidity and mortality caused by overprescribing opioids. Other presenters from the University of Kentucky include Dr. Agatha Critchfield, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UK College of Medicine and the director of the Perinatal Assistance and Treatment Home (PATHways) Program, and Dr. Michelle Lofwall, professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine specialists in the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.

“Here in Kentucky, we are at the epicenter of an overdose crisis that puts a tremendous burden on society at large,” said Terry Bunn, associate professor of preventive medicine in the UK College of Public Health and director of the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center (KIPRC). “We believe health care providers have the ability to reverse the negative trend of heroin and opioid overdoses in Kentucky. We must educate the professionals who are on the front lines of the epidemic because they are truly the difference-makers in the lives of patients and communities suffering from the scourge of opioid abuse.”

The conference is supported by a federal grant awarded to KIPRC and jointly sponsored by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. The event was coordinated through UK HealthCare CE Central. Physicians are eligible for as many as 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 continuing education credits.  Conference and registration information is available at

Media availability will be coordinated by request through Elizabeth Adams at This event is not open to the public.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,