Conference seeks solutions to the opioid epidemic


Macomb County 41B District Court Judge Linda Davis, will be among the panelists as Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School presents “The Opioid Epidemic: Finding Solutions to a Public Health Emergency” at the law school’s Lansing campus on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Davis serves as chair of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission and also is president of Families Against Narcotics.

Families Against Narcotics has 20 chapters in Michigan with another launching soon in North Carolina.

The nonprofit organization provides education, resources and support to individuals and families impacted by addiction.

It also operates a program called “Hope Not Handcuffs,” which partners with police departments and volunteers to assist addicts seeking recovery into treatment. Since the program first launched in Macomb County a year ago, over 850 individuals struggling with addiction have received help.

Organizers of this week’s conference in Lansing note that President Donald Trump, in his State of the Union address, discussed the devastating impact of opioid addiction in the United States.

The opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency in October 2017, a designation the president renewed on Jan. 23.

During the conference, scheduled from 1-4:30 p.m. attendees will learn what federal, state, and local governments are doing about the crisis, and how the epidemic is impacting communities, including the legal community.

The event will feature an expert panel discussing various addiction-related issues, including health implications, legal concerns, overcoming addiction, and the effects of addiction.
Besides Davis, panelists include:

•  Kristen Lee: graduate of Eastern Michigan University and the University of Toledo College of Law, and a person who is in long-term recovery from opioid use disorder

• Ashton Marr: program manager of the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project at Home of New Vision, Certified Peer Recovery Mentor, and a person who is in long-term recovery from opioid
use disorder

•  Brandy McMillion: Assistant U.S. Attorney specializing in opioid fraud abuse and detection

•  Lauren Rousseau: WMU-Cooley law professor and president of the Northwest Wayne Chapter of Families Against Narcotics

•  Tish Vincent: director of the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program of the State Bar of Michigan


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