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NH Governor’s Summit addresses state opioid epidemic

The NH Governor’s Summit on Substance Misuse: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Addressing the Opioid Crisis, was held on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, in Manchester, NH. The Radisson Hotel was at maximum capacity, as over 850 people attended the Governor’s first summit. Teams and programs from all over the state attended, alongside police officers, families of overdose victims, people in recovery, and politicians working to change the way misuse is governed in the state.

Keynote speaker Thomas McLellan, PhD, discussed the clinical, scientific, and ethical reasons for why substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and ongoing management of the disease should be valued and integrated across general medical settings.
Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture and appointed Chair of Rural Council by President Obama, brought the house to tears recounting the stories of addiction he’s heard and seen in the most rural parts of our country.
Breakout sessions highlighted prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery supports throughout the state, with panels consisting of integrated services like social workers, police officers, treatment providers, politicians, and recovering addicts.
Node partners Dr. Sarah Akerman, Daisy Goodman, and Catherine Millken from the Perinatal Addiction Treatment Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock presented their multidisciplinary treatment approach to perinatal substance use disorders.
Node Core Investigator Dr. Steven Chapman from the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) presented on the SBIRT screening and intervention he and his team of colleagues have developed and implemented at CHaD using tablets.
In addition to the keynotes, both Governor Hassan and her newly-appointed Advisor on Addiction and Behavioral Health, James Vara, highlighted the importance of the work the state is doing to address the opioid epidemic.
The summit was a great step for the state in facing this problem head on. Our partner Tym Rourke from the NH Charitable Foundation and the Governor’s Commission, facilitated attendees drafting action items to help the government and its advisors move forward to improve collaboration, treatment, research, and outreach throughout the state.