U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) kicked off the 2nd National Rx Drug Abuse Summit, hosted by Operation UNITE in Orlando, Florida at the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate. Nearly 900 people from 48 states are attending the sophomore conference focused on the national prescription drug abuse epidemic. Headliners include U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske; Dr. Margaret "Peggy" Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (NY-11); U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10); and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating (MA-09).
"Operation UNITE is the bringing prescription drug abuse epidemic to the national stage once again after last year's summit stirred poignant discussions, sparked new legislative options and new grassroots efforts," said Rogers. "With significant growth at the Summit this year, it's inspiring to know that more people are committed to stay on the front-lines of the on-going battle. There is hope and we intend to do everything we can to save lives and help families and communities across the nation."
During the opening ceremony, keynote speakers set the tone for this year's goals. Director Kerlikowske called on Missouri to implement a prescription drug monitoring program, as the other 49 states have already done. Dr. Hamburg confirmed the FDA has the authority to take action on several pressing issues, like addressing generic narcotic medications without abuse deterrent formulas. Last year, Dr. Frieden announced that the CDC had classified the prescription drug abuse problem as an epidemic, but this year his message is 'we can stop this epidemic.'
The Summit continues through Thursday, April 4th.