ATLANTA, Ga. — The annual National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit continues to lead the way toward better policies and practices to save lives and address the national opioid abuse crisis. The four-day conference, which will take place April 22-25 in Atlanta, Georgia, brings together the most powerful leaders in the United States, along with the nation’s largest contingent of state and community advocates and professionals to address substance use disorder and the illicit drug trade. This year, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have accepted an invitation from Congressman Hal Rogers and Operation UNITE to join them at the conference on Wednesday, April 24.
“President Trump and the First Lady are affirming their shared commitment to address the national opioid epidemic and lead the way toward life-saving solutions by joining the growing movement of individuals who attend this important conference every year,” said Congressman Rogers. “We have learned that the best way to make an impact on this national crisis, is to bring together all of the stakeholders, from lawmakers, to law enforcement officers, to prescribers and other medical professionals, to addiction recovery leaders and community advocates. As the illegal drug trade rapidly changes, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to improve education, prevent abuse and enhance options for those grappling with addiction. There is hope for a brighter future and I look forward to hearing more from our Commander-in-Chief on this issue.”
More than 3,500 people are expected to attend the summit, now in its eighth year. The conference was first organized by Operation UNITE, a non-profit organization in southeastern Kentucky, launched by Congressman Rogers in 2003 to battle the drug abuse epidemic with a three-pronged approach: law enforcement, treatment and education. Since then, UNITE has provided more than 4,500 free treatment vouchers for individuals battling addiction; more than 4,500 individuals have been arrested on drug charges with a 97.2% conviction rate; and more than 260,000 students have participated in UNITE’s drug-free education programs.
“While there are many effective community-based initiatives focused on addressing substance use disorder-related issues, this public health crisis cannot be solved without collaboration and coordination,” Hale said. “We appreciate the strong, bipartisan leadership from Congress – in particular the leadership shown by Congressman Rogers – along with multiple federal agencies that are providing state and local leaders resources needed for prevention, treatment, and drug interdiction efforts. President Trump has demonstrated his commitment to our collective efforts throughout the past year, and I look forward to hearing his vision on how we can be even more successful in the months and years to come.”
Congressman Rogers will lead a federal delegation of keynote speakers at the summit, including: James W. Carroll, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Francis Collins, MD, Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Robert Redfield, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse; Nora Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Admiral Charles Ray, Vice Commandant for the U.S. Coast Guard; and U.S. Representatives Susan Brooks (R-IN), Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) and William Lacy Clay (D-MO).