Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), participated in a national panel discussion on the critical and urgent public health issue of substance misuse and addiction on Thursday, August 17.
The event was part of a national webinar hosted by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials’(ASTHO’s) President’s Challenge 2017.
Others serving on the panel were: Tracy Dolan, MS, deputy health commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health; Brigid McCaw, MD, MS, MPH, FACP, medical director of Kaiser Permanente’s Family Violence Prevention Program; and Jay C. Butler, MD, chief medical officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
“There is not a simple solution to the substance abuse epidemic, but together we can raise awareness, improve education and drive meaningful conversations that can help support our communities as they seek to recover and rebuild from this devastating crisis,” said Arnett. “No one person can be assigned responsibility for the negative health outcomes we face. It takes a collective ownership to say we are all a part of this and we have to do our part to make a difference.”
One innovative way SOAR is addressing substance abuse misuse and addiction is a partnership with Addiction Recovery Care, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and Sullivan.
University to create a Peer Support Academy. This program allows those in treatment at Addiction Recovery Care to receive college credit and training through Sullivan University to enhance reentry into the workforce.
“Part of addressing addiction is addressing some of the hurdles those in treatment face once they leave,” said Arnett. “The Peer Support Academy addresses that challenge, and we have seen great success with this program so far.”
SOAR, the University of Pikeville and the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine will host a Substance Use Disorder educational event for providers, medical students, and healthcare professionals from across Appalachia on Tuesday, October 3 at the university of Pikeville. This event will bring together subject matter experts to discuss the prevention and treatment of substance use disorder. Speakers will discuss putting evidence based guidelines into practice in rural settings and provide the resources and tools need to assist current and future providers in Appalachia to help turn the tide on this epidemic.