U.S. Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) was joined by dozens of fellow southern and eastern Kentuckians at the inaugural National Rx Drug Abuse Summit hosted by the southern and eastern Kentucky non-profit anti-drug organization, Operation UNITE in Orlando, Florida. Of the 750 people in attendance this week, about 100 were from Kentucky to either learn more about the epidemic or share their message on a national stage.
"The overwhelming interest from around the country is staggering for this inaugural drug abuse summit, but I am most proud of the folks from southern and eastern Kentucky who are here to bring this great wealth of information back home to our region," said Rogers. "Folks from Somerset to Pikeville are in Florida to let people across the country know that we are in the fight and we're not afraid to lead the way."
Melanda Adams, a Clay County resident bravely shared her story of recovery during a session called "Stories of Hope Across America," moderated by Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia. When talking about her parents' efforts to help her survive Melanda said, "they were as desperate to fix me, as I was to find a drug." She calls UNITE detectives her "Blue Angels" for giving her a chance for recovery.
Jackie Steele, Commonwealth Attorney for Kentucky's 27th Judicial Circuit, also serves as a Board Member for UNITE. He moderated several sessions during the week and shared the importance of cracking down on pill mills and being an active community member. "It takes all of us getting involved and pulling our strengths together to tackle this epidemic," said Steele.
Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville City Manager attended the Summit to learn more about the drug epidemic in other parts of the country and viable solutions that he can share back home in the mountains. "It has been an eye-opening experience to learn the sheer depth of the epidemic facing this nation. It isn't just an eastern Kentucky problem," said Blackburn. "Our communities need to be more involved and I plan to share some of the things I have learned when I get back to Pikeville."
Law enforcement professsionals, treatment professionals and education professionals also made the trip from Kentucky to attend the summit, including medical professionals from Pikeville Medical Center, Manchester Memorial Hospital and Corbin's Baptist Regional Medical Center.
For more information, visit www.nationalrxdrugabusesummit.org.
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit www.halrogers.house.gov.
PHOTO #1 CUTLINE: Rogers Speaks at National Rx Drug Abuse Summit
PHOTO #2 CUTLINE: Melanda Adams of Clay County shares her story of recovery as moderator, U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia listens
PHOTO #3 CUTLINE: Jackie Steele moderates a law enforcement session at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit
PHOTO #4 CUTLINE: Donovan Blackburn joined Congressman Rogers at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit
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