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LMS Opioid Symposium Shared Many Perspectives of the Opioid Crisis

Lexington Medical Society Opioid Symposium Shared Many Perspectives of the Opioid Crisis
By Christopher Hickey, LMS EVP/CEO

More Kentuckians died, 1,565 in 2017, from drug overdose than traffic accidents and murders combined. Kentucky ranks 4th in the nation in drug overdose deaths. Fayette County is one of four Kentucky counties with the largest increases in drug overdose deaths. The Lexington Medical Society Opioid Symposium was held on October 16 at the Signature Club to a packed audience of physicians and other healthcare providers. These facts quickly got everyone’s attention on the dreadful impact this crisis is having in our society. Melissa Combs put a face on the crisis by detailing her journey as a former addict and her brush near death. The message from these opioid statistics and Melissa’s powerful testimonial was clear; our friends, neighbors, patients, and fellow community members are afflicted with a disease that alters the chemistry of the brain and need years of support to overcome it.

The idea for this symposium began last spring when LMS invited Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton to speak on the opioid crisis in Lexington. Mayor Gorton gave her vision on connecting the wide range of organizations touched by the opioid crisis to help develop solutions. LMS established a planning committee that met throughout the summer to craft the objectives of the symposium and identify speakers.  Dr. Charles Papp, LMS President, assembled a panel of experts on the front lines of the opioid crisis in Lexington. Andrea James, the Mayor’s point person on the opioid crisis, was part of the planning committee and panel member. The symposium’s objectives were to inform physicians and other healthcare providers on the background; provide them with the tools and resources they can use to connect patients to support.

LMS would like to thank symposium panel members Dr. Tuyen Tran, LMS Executive Board Chair, Dr. Danesh Mazloomdoost, a pain and regenerative specialist, Lexington Battalion Chief Chad Traylor, Emergency Physician Dr. Ryan Stanton, Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, Lexington-Fayette County Commissioner of Health, Lou Anna Red Corn, the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney, Dr. Michelle Lofwall, Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, Dr. Mark Jorrisch, Immediate Past President of the Kentucky Society of Addiction Medicine, and Catherine Hines, a Coordinator from the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at U.K.

The symposium concluded with a question and answer session with panel members.  Attendee immediate feedback and surveys were overwhelming positive for the symposium. The symposium’s objectives were met, but much needs to be done. LMS members can anticipate another symposium in early 2020. We thank all our panel members and attendees for making our first symposium such a success.