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A patient-centered approach to the U.S. drug epidemic to be discussed by top experts Nov. 14

A major seminar at Jacksonville University Nov. 14 will gather the region’s top substance abuse experts to describe outreach, prevention and treatment for those affected by the cascading U.S. drug epidemic, including U.S. veterans.

Jeff Mangrum

The 3½-hour event is supported by a major grant to JU’s Keigwin School of Nursing from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a program to advance education, graduation, employment and retention of qualified veterans seeking Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. It is free to the JU community and public and will include continuing education credits for nurses, mental health counselors, psychologists and other healthcare professionals.

“This educational program brings together experts and advocates who are mobilizing regional resources to address this terrible drug epidemic devastating many members of our civilian and military community,” said Dr. Lynnette Kennison, Professor of Nursing and retired Colonel, Florida Army National Guard.

U.S. drug overdose death data is staggering. Overdoses are now the leading cause of death of Americans under age 50. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015 and nearly double that of a decade earlier. For 2015, 33,091 overdose deaths involved an opioid (more than 22,000 of those involved prescriptions), or about 91 deaths per day. In Florida alone, 3,228 people died from drug overdoses in 2015 — nearly 23 percent more than just a year earlier.

The seminar at JU, titled “For Patients’ Sake, Advocate: Confronting the Drug Epidemic” will feature a keynote by Jeff Mangrum, National Accounts Director for Tennessee-based renowned treatment center Cornerstone of Recovery, on “The Hero’s Journey: Legendary Leadership, Client Engagement and the Power of Storytelling.”

Other speakers include:

  • Dr. Michael Sorna, Director of the Jacksonville Veterans Administration Mental Health and Substance Abuse Clinics, who will describe the state of the opioid overdose epidemic and resources available to support evidence-based practice for treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in the clinical setting.
  • Dr. Raymond Pomm, who will review the historical basis for the current drug epidemic and describe Project Save lives, a $1.5 million, six-month pilot program designed to address the opioid epidemic and funded by the City of Jacksonville.
  • Dr. Terrie Andrews, Administrator of Baptist Healthcare System Behavioral Health, who will discuss policies and community treatment related to substance abuse.
  • Mr. Dan Renaud, Executive Director of Florida Recovery Schools, who will describe role of the Recovery High School in the continuum of care available at the adolescent level.

The event is from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Gooding Auditorium at Jacksonville University, 2800 University Blvd., with refreshments provided. Seating is limited; those wishing to attend should RSVP at VBSNevents@ju.edu.