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Opioid Conference Offers Guidance For Health Care, Law Enforcement Professionals

May 31, 2017

The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.

Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription pain reliever. More Illinoisans die from opioid drug overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents or all gun-related causes.

An educational conference will address issues surrounding the opioid prescription drug and heroin epidemic, starting at 8:30 a.m. on June 6 at the Mount Vernon Hotel and Event Center, 222 Potomac Blvd., in Mount Vernon. The day-long conference will provide informative sessions along two tracks: one for health care providers and one for law enforcement and court personnel. Presenters will address topics such as chronic pain management, risk mitigation in prescribing opioids, opioid substance use disorder treatment models, drug courts, diversion tactics and community engagement strategies. 

Professor and journalist John Temple will deliver the keynote address. Temple is a professor of journalism at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media and author of the award-winning nonfiction book “American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic.”

The goal of the conference is to educate professionals in southern Illinois about these life-and-death issues and to encourage a dialog between government officials, legal and medical providers and citizens. Communication and collaboration can enhance community efforts to better combat the epidemic.

The Southern Illinois Interprofessional Opioid Prescription Drug and Heroin Conference is part of an ongoing effort to implement a regional plan of action to address drug overdoses and to prevent addiction deaths and injuries in Illinois’ southernmost 33 counties. The Community Behavioral Healthcare Association’s Southern District is leading this collaboration in partnership with Southern Illinois Healthcare, SIU Medicine’s Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, Shawnee Health Service, Illinois Department of Public Health and Healthy Southern Illinois Delta Network. 

Continuing education credits will be available for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, professional/clinical counselors, CADC and law enforcement. The Illinois Area Health Education Centers Network Program is funding the conference, and it is administered by the National Center for Rural Health Professions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine, Rockford.

Conference registration cost is $75 for physicians and pharmacists and $30 for all other guests. To register, visit and click on Learners > Conferences. To learn more about the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, visit or call 618-453-1262. 


Schedule an interview or request more information by contacting SIU Medicine's Office of Public Relations and Communications:

Kim Sanders
Karen Carlson