ATLANTA - The science of addiction and intervention became the focus of the third day of the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit.
Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), partnered as keynote speakers for an innovative session entitled, "What's Working and Where Are We Going?"
"Misuse of prescription opioid medications led to more than 16,000 overdose deaths in 2013," said Dr. Volkow. "NIDA supports a variety of science based solutions, including the development of abuse-resistant pain medications, better medications to treat opioid dependence, and easier access to the overdose prevention drug Naloxone."
Dr. Melissa Cheeseman Rogers, an Emergency Room Physician from St. Joseph Hospital in Kentucky, moderated an open question-and-answer session with Dr. Volkow and Dr. Frieden for attendees. They discussed successful interventions and improvements that can be made in prevention and education.
"States such as Florida have seen fewer overdoses and deaths by getting public health, law enforcement, and communities to work together to focus on safe prescribing practices; track trends in prescriptions; and increase access to quality treatment programs," said Dr. Frieden. "Success is possible - the key now is to figure out and scale up what works."
Dr. Frieden and Dr. Volkow commended Operation UNITE and U.S. Representative Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) for working diligently to advance efforts to help curb drug abuse.
"Congressman Rogers' leadership in addressing prescription drug overdose has brought together diverse partners to reverse our nation's prescription drug overdose epidemic," said Dr. Frieden.
Operation UNITE teamed up with the CDC and other partners to launch a social media campaign during the Rx Summit to raise awareness about the human toll of prescription drug abuse.
Dr. Frieden and Congressman Rogers were two of the first participants to describe the epidemic in six words to challenge assumptions about prescribed pain killers and patient safety. Social media activity is tagged #RXProblem and has already generated more than 10,000 hits in the first three days.
The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit continues through Thursday, April 9.