Every day, more than 130 Americans die after overdosing on opioids and Florida was identified among the states with a significant drug overdose death rate increase from 2016-2017.
On Monday, April 15, several experts discussed the opioid crisis from different perspectives during the University of Florida’s Center for Addiction Research & Education’s seventh annual Addiction Symposium, held at UF’s McKnight Brain Institute.
Speakers included Brigette Kieffer, Ph.D., a leading researcher on opioid receptors in the brain who serves as scientific director of the Douglas Research Center at McGill University, and R. Kathryn McHugh, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School whose clinical and translational research focuses on the role of stress and anxiety in opioid use disorders.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, who was recently named chair of the state attorney general’s opioid addiction prevention panel, also spoke at the symposium. The panel is tasked with developing a comprehensive plan to combat the opioid crisis in Florida.
“We are seeing people die from opioid overdose in record numbers,” Lemma said. “The greatest responsibility that we all have collectively in this room, regardless of what organization we represent, is to preserve and protect human life.”
The Center for Addiction Research & Education, or CARE, symposium also included a series of roundtable discussions and a poster competition.
Founded in 1983, CARE is one of UF’s longest-existing university-wide centers and serves as a resource for investigators seeking to establish and sustain programs focused on the diverse field of research. To learn more about CARE, visit addictionresearch.health.ufl.edu