Health summit on opioid crisis held

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - More than 150 people gathered Wednesday for a conference on the Opioid Crisis.

The event called "Opioid Crisis Next Door" included speakers addressing challenges to treating opioid abuse, experience of people in treatment, Naloxone use, coalition-building and other matters.

"It's about all of us coming together," said Pat Schou, executive director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network. "Coalitions shouldn't just be health people or public health people or the coroner or police officers or legal. It's about everybody together."

It is being supported by the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Rural Health; the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, and SIU Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development.

National speaker psychiatrist Dr. Omar Manejwala described the opioid crisis as a "wicked problem": lacking a definitive definition and a stopping rule that shows when a solution has been found.

"It has to do with identity. It has to do with meaning. It has to do with opportunity, poverty, culture. There's a lot of drivers," Manejwala said. "We need to attract people to treatment more than we coerce them to go to treatment. Forcing people to treatment, in the long-term, is not going to be effective."

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