Highmark Foundation Hosts Forum on the West Virginia Opioid Crisis

West Virginia leaders, including U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), to participate in problem-solving discussion around opioid misuse

Pittsburgh, PA — The Highmark Foundation, in partnership with axialHealthcare, presents a solutions-focused forum on pain management and opioid misuse. Altering The Course: Solutions For The West Virginia Opioid Misuse Crisis will be held in Charleston, West Virginia on November 9th, 2016. Participating in the forum are healthcare providers, insurers, law enforcement, patient advocates, scientists and government officials, including U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.). These influential leaders will engage in a fact-based and problem-solving discussion around pain treatment, opioid prescription behaviors, and the rapidly increasing patient health and societal crisis.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin will be the Keynote Speaker. “Countless families across America are devastated by prescription drug abuse,” Senator Manchin said. “There are simply too many opioid pills on the market and we need all sides – the DEA, law enforcement, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, families and community leaders in this fight, working together to ensure that we do not lose any more West Virginians to this terrible addiction. Fighting this epidemic is my top priority in the United States Senate, and I look forward to speaking at this opioid forum and sharing my thoughts on how to fight this terrible addiction and help put folks onto a path of recovery.”

Opioid misuse is a national epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated that in 2014 there were 14,838 overdose deaths due to prescription opioids and 10,574 for heroin. Prescription opioid abusers are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin, which has increased across all demographics over the last decade. The state of West Virginia has been hit particularly hard. In 2014, West Virginia had one of the highest opioid prescription rates and the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country.

“The opioid epidemic is ravaging our communities. Some of the hardest hit areas in the country are here in West Virginia,” said Representative Jenkins. “I am honored to take part in this event focusing on finding and sharing solutions. Solving this tragic issue will require everyone, from law enforcement and healthcare providers to family and friends, standing united to find solutions to this crisis and help those suffering from addiction find treatment, support, and recovery.”

“The intent of the forum is to bring together thought leaders and industry experts to explore ways to reduce the impact of addiction and misuse,” said Yvonne Cook, President, Highmark Foundation.

“Highmark and axialHealthcare are both steadfastly committed to improving care for patients in pain throughout West Virginia. This will be a starting point for the broader conversation abound solutions for West Virginians caught in the opioid crisis,” said axialHealthcare Chairman and CEO John J. Donahue.

Panel discussion leaders include Dr. David A. Thomas, Co-Chair of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Prescription Opioids and Pain Workgroup, and Dr. Kimberly Johnson, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA. View the agenda and full list of speakers online for Altering The Course: Solutions For The West Virginia Opioid Misuse Crisis. Registration is limited.

About the Highmark Foundation

The Highmark Foundation is a private, charitable organization of Highmark Inc. that supports initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities served by Highmark Inc. The Foundation strives to support evidence-based programs that impact multiple counties and work collaboratively to leverage additional funding to achieve replicable models. For more information, visit www.highmarkfoundation.org.

About axialHealthcare

axialHealthcare is the nation’s leading pain medication and pain care management company. axial’s pain management solutions engage physicians, pain clinics and patients with coordinated care by applying advanced analytical insight, unmatched proven clinical evidence and highly effective consumer support. axialHealthcare’s solutions optimize pain care outcomes, reduce opioid misuse and materially improve financial performance for those who insure care. For more information, please visit axial.alphaechoagency.com.

Media Contacts
Kristy Cramlet for Highmark Foundation

Lori Kelly for axialHealthcare

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