UK Happenings

Combating Addiction is Focus of Fulbright Visiting Scholar Enrichment Seminar at UK

Book cover of Dopesick by Beth Macy

Lexington, Ky. (March 13, 2019) — The University of Kentucky 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, March 20-23, 2019. This event will bring 90 scholars from around the world to UK for a holistic intensive program addressing various aspects of addiction including interdisciplinary research, education, clinical and community outreach practices relating to substance use disorders and recovery.

UK is increasingly recognized as a center for innovative multidisciplinary approaches to treatment for various types substance use disorders. Addiction is not simply a local, regional or national problem, it is a global issue, and 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 this prestigious seminar.

The Fulbright visitors will exchange ideas with key researchers and other experts, bringing a comparative context to the cutting-edge work being done at UK and in Kentucky. 

Beth Barnes, professor in the UK College of Communication and Information and co-organizer of this event, believes the seminar will sharpen Fulbright Scholars’ ability to examine the crisis of addiction “through the lenses of medicine, social constructs, policy, government and the legal system and NGO interventions,” she said.

“UK has a number of research, intervention and treatment programs in place and in development seeking to address varied aspects of addiction,” Barnes said. Visiting scholars will have the opportunity to learn more about the programs UK has to offer and consider how they can apply aspects of these back at their home institutions.

“This program gives Fulbrighters from all over the world and currently visiting and working in universities all across the U.S., an opportunity to network with one another, see a different part of the U.S. and experience a different regional culture and learn about a critical current issue in a uniquely interdisciplinary context,” said Tim Barnes, executive director of international partnerships and research in the UK International Center and co-organizer of the seminar.

Scholars will also visit several locations around Lexington such as the Mayor’s office, Chrysalis House, Keeneland Race Track, Kentucky Horse Park and Healthy Kentucky Research Building. These visits will provide scholars with an immersive experience so they can better understand the context of research and other programs they will be learning about and so they can learn about the region. The Seminar participants, who are from over 49 countries, will be hosted in small groups for home-cooked dinners by local families. A treasured part of the Fulbright experience is this kind of people-to-people cultural exchange.

Several events that are part of this Fulbright Seminar are open to the public:

  • 8:30 a.m., March 21, Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema: Keynote Plenary Address by Beth Macy, journalist and bestselling author, who addressed America’s 20-plus year struggle with opioid addiction in her latest book, "Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America."  

Macy will discuss the trajectory of opioid addiction in the southeastern U.S. in particular. Following the keynote, attendees will be given the opportunity to purchase the book and meet Macy.

  •  ​11 a.m.-noon, March 21Gatton 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 a fascinating and 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., March 22, Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema: Plenary Session by John C. Tilley, secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, who will be speaking on “Public Policy, State and Federal Intervention Approaches to Combating Addiction.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Over the past decade, more than 50 UK faculty members have been awarded Fulbright grants to teach and conduct research in 33 different countries and more than 30 visiting Fulbright scholars from around the world have chosen the University of Kentucky and Lexington as their home away from home.

For more information on Fulbright opportunities click here.

On March 28, the Office of Institutional Diversity will also be hosting a related talk on the issue of opioid addiction in America by Sam Quinones, journalist and author of the book, "Dreamland."  This event is open to the public and will begin at 10 a.m. in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.