UK Happenings

Fulbright Seminar to Continue Conversation Surrounding Addiction, Recovery

Photo of Opioids
Fulbright Visiting Scholar Enrichment Seminar

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2019) It's a question that's critical to families and communities across the Commonwealth — how do we tackle the opioid epidemic? The University of Kentucky is bringing 90 scholars, in diverse academic and scientific disciplines from over 40 countries, to campus in hopes of continuing the conversation surrounding addiction and recovery.

UK's International Center, in cooperation with the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is hosting the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Enrichment Seminar: Combating Addiction, Dec. 11-14. The event will serve as a converging point on the crucial topic.

Fulbright visitors will exchange ideas with key researchers and experts — bringing a comparative context to the innovative work being done across Kentucky and beyond. This will allow scholars to examine the crisis of addiction through the lenses of medicine, social constructs, policy, government and the legal system.

UK is increasingly recognized as a center for innovative multidisciplinary approaches to the treatment of various types of substance use disorders. Addiction is not simply a local issue — it’s a global issue. The U.S. Department of State and IIE recognize that UK, as a globally engaged research institution with a land-grant mission, is uniquely positioned to host the prestigious seminar for the second time.

“So many people — so many communities — struggle with addiction. To be able to hear what is similar in other countries and what’s different in other countries is vital. It’s important to understand those different perspectives,” Beth Barnes, professor in the UK College of Communication and Information and co-organizer of the seminar, said.

The event will build upon the state's considerable momentum to tackle the opioid crisis. Last spring, UK was awarded an $87 million federal grant — the largest grant ever awarded to the university — to support innovative research surrounding the epidemic.

“Our faculty are doing such cutting-edge work on addiction, not just in terms of research, but in terms of pushing research into practice in the community,” Tim Barnes, executive director of International Partnerships and Research in the UK International Center and co-organizer of the seminar, said.

Throughout the two-day program, scholars will visit various locations around Lexington such as City Hall, the Chrysalis House and UK research facilities.

Several of the seminar’s events are also open to the general public.

  • 11 a.m.-noon, Dec. 12, Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema: Screening of the Documentary: "The Narcotic Farm."

In this award-winning documentary, former inmates at America’s first prison for drug addicts tell the untold story of jazz, human drug testing and secret CIA research. From 1935 until 1975, almost every American junkie busted for dope went to the United States Narcotic Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, an ambitious government center dedicated to finding a cure for addiction. This film tells the story of this fascinating institution through rare photographs and film, forgotten press clippings, revealing government documents and historically significant new interviews with prisoners, doctors and guards who were there.

  • 9-10:30 a.m., Dec. 13, Gatton Student Center Ballroom A: Plenary Session by Secretary​ John Tilley, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

For more information on Fulbright opportunities, visit the UK International Center’s website.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.