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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

Thursday, December 1, 2016

United States Attorney Announces Successful Heroin And Opioid Response Summit

Urges Collaborative Solutions and New Ideas to Combat the Explosion in Heroin and Opioid Addiction

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – United States Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr., in conjunction with Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Detroit Field Division, and Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., Dean of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, today announced the successful completion of their first Heroin and Opioid Response Summit. The one-day event was attended by more than 300 industry professionals focused on developing collaboration across every public sector combatting heroin and opioid abuse; one of Metro-Louisville’s most urgent, destructive and widespread challenges.

United States Attorney John Kuhn emphasized, “Important and effective work is already being done to address this crisis, but we must do more. Today’s Summit brought together stakeholders to collaborate on a broad spectrum of solutions. We hope these discussions serve as a springboard for all of us to pursue new initiatives and proven interventions to help addicts, prevent new addictions and stop the illegal trafficking.”

Speakers included Mark S. Jorrisch, M.D., a leading authority on the science of addiction, treatment and recovery; Captain Juan Colon, who developed a statewide illicit drug information sharing program with public health and public safety partners in New Jersey; Dr. Robert L. DuPont, the former head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the second White House Drug Chief who emphasized how the criminal justice system can promote effective treatment of addiction; and nationally known speaker Ivana Grahovac, whose professional work and personal journey both speak to a more compassionate approach to supporting recovering addicts.

The event incorporated panel discussions, led by experts in public health, prevention and education; first responders and law enforcement; and treatment and recovery disciplines.  Each shared their experiences with the pernicious effects of opioid and heroin addiction and frankly discussed local efforts, challenges, gaps, and potential areas for improvement. 

During the day-long conference, the audience listened to more than 30 speakers and panelists including presentations on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s DEA 360 Strategy, and supporting efforts of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).

“Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon stated, "Today's Summit is our latest effort as part of the DEA 360 Strategy to find new and innovative ways to address the opioid addiction epidemic and the drug trafficking it produces. By bringing together subject matter experts from prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement, we are striving to find multiple pathways to reduce all opioid abuse in Louisville and the surrounding communities."

"The Heroin and Opioid Response Summit is a critical step in addressing this devastating epidemic that knows no geographic, economic or societal boundaries because it unites several sectors of the Louisville community to collaborate on developing unique solutions and partnerships," said General Arthur T. Dean, Chairman and CEO, CADCA.  "CADCA is proud to join U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky John E. Kuhn, Jr. and the Drug Enforcement Administration in this effort."

The capacity room attendance at the Kornhauser Auditorium, located on the campus of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, demonstrated the understanding that heroin abuse in Metro-Louisville is not just a law enforcement problem, but a widespread epidemic impacting all facets of our community. Nationally we lose one person every 20 minutes to overdoses and in Jefferson County we had 183 overdose deaths in the first six months of 2016 – one life each day. According to Dean Toni Ganzel, the University of Louisville School of Medicine is doing more to educate physicians about the pain management strategies that minimize the dangers of opioid addiction. 

“The science surrounding pain management and the use of opioid painkillers has evolved over the years,” Dean Ganzel said. “We are working diligently to teach our new health care providers, as well as our life-long learners, the new approaches to pain management. Additionally, we are working hard to educate people on the proper use of Naloxone so that they are able to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose with the goal of eventually getting patients into treatment to break the addiction.”

U.S. Attorney Kuhn concluded, “Today’s Summit is intended as only one step on the long march to better, broader, stronger strategies and interventions.  Tomorrow we will continue to work together, remaining united by the common goal of ending the scourge of heroin and opioids.  Only by working together will we turn back this terrible tide and help our community heal.”

U.S. Attorney Kuhn leading a panel discussion


Community Outreach
Updated December 1, 2016