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.
- 9-10:30 a.m., Dec. 12, Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema: Plenary Address by David T. Courtwright, author of "The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits became Big Business" with introduction from President Eli Capilouto.
- 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.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.