“Kentucky Substance Use Epidemic: A Solutions Update” is title of Bost Health Policy Forum to be held in Lexington Sept. 24

As Kentucky continues to struggle with the health and economic impacts of the opioid epidemic, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky‘s 16th annual health policy forum will explore medical marijuana and other alternative pain therapies, as well as the rise in infectious disease associated with the crisis.

“We need to understand the truth behind the push for medical marijuana, hear the facts about whether it works to relieve pain, and learn the risks associated with its use,” foundation president and CEO Ben Chandler said in a news release. “This year’s speakers will give us the latest updates on the causes and impacts of Kentucky’s substance use crisis, and will zero in on how we’re doing in addressing what continues to feed the crisis and the resulting symptoms.”

The 2018 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum is titled “Kentucky’s Substance Use Epidemic: A Solutions Update.” The forum is sponsored by the foundation with support from Centerstone and Bluegrass.org, organizations that care for patients with mental, developmental and behavioral issues. It is named for Dr. Howard L. Bost, who helped create Medicare and Medicaid, developed the Appalachian Regional Hospitals system, improved mental-health services in Kentucky, and created the vision for the foundation.

It will be held at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort on Newtown Pike in Lexington on Monday, Sept. 24. Attendance is free, but registration is required. Click here to register.

This year’s keynote speaker is Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter Barry Meier, the author of Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic. Meier’s book chronicles the aggressive marketing of the highly addictive drug OxyContin by Purdue Pharma, and the role it played in creating the nation’s opioid crisis.

The forum will feature two morning panels, one titled “Kentucky’s Addiction Burden,” which will provide the latest updates on how substance addiction is impacting both the heath and economy of Kentucky, and the other “Agency Exchange: Views from the Front Lines,” which will discuss various approaches being used by the state to deal with the crisis.

Attendees will be able to attend two of the three afternoon breakout sessions: “Infectious/Chronic Diseases Caused by Addiction,” “Medical Marijuana: What is the Truth?,” or “Treating Chronic Pain: Alternatives to Opioids. ”

The full agenda and speaker biographies are available on the foundation’s website. All speaker presentations will be made available on the website after the forum. Meier will also be available to sign copies of his book, which will be for sale at the forum.

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