July 22, 2019

In This Issue
Court Upholds non-ACA-Compliant Short-term Health Plan Rules
This Week's Public Health Updates from the AMA
Opponents of New Vaccine Bill Seek Repeal; Petitions Circulated
Governor's Opioid Summit Draws over 1,150 to Augusta Civic Center
CMS Expands Scope of Approved Ambulatory BP Monitoring
MMA Hosts 16th Annual Golf Tournament to Benefit Maine Medical Education Trust Scholarships
MICIS Individual Academic Detailing Sessions on Opioid Topics
2019 Mary Cushman, MD Award - Final Week to Submit a Nomination
MMA Legislative Calls Finished for the Session
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
Quality Counts: Rapid Induction Starting in the ED (RISE) Training, ECHO Program
ACU Annual Conference is taking place in Washington, DC from July 28th-31st
MICIS Opioid Education Presentations Available
Complex Mental and Behavioral Health Needs of Maine Youth - August 16
Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI) Training Program - October 9
Outpatient Internal Medicine Physician Bangor, Maine
BC/BE Family Medicine or Internal Medicine Physician
Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital seeks a BC/BE General Surgeon
Family Medicine Opportunity in Beautiful Western Maine
Physician Director of Primary Care
Nurse Practitioner
Family Medicine Specialist or an Internist
Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians
Volunteer Opportunity with Partners for World Health

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Governor's Opioid Summit Draws over 1,150 to Augusta Civic Center
Katherine Leggat-Barr, MMA Intern


On Monday, over 1,150 people gathered at the Augusta Civic Center for the Governor's 1st annual “Turning the Tide Summit,” to combat opioid use in Maine. The full day conference had a broad agenda, featuring keynote speakers including Governor Janet Mills, Sam Quinones, author of the best-selling book Dreamland and Michael Botticelli, former director of National Drug Control Policy. The conference featured breakout sessions, with topics ranging from the best practices in caring for substance exposed infants to reducing stigma surrounding addiction. Each session began with the voice of an individual impacted by the epidemic, from persons in recovery to the families of individuals lost to overdose, grounding the conference in the lived reality. It concluded with a Response Panel, featuring Dr. Patrice Harris, President of the American Medical Association. The prevalence of hope while impressing the necessity of urgent action was a common thread throughout.

Governor Mills opened the conference, outlining her administration’s direction and focus on this issue. She emphasized the importance of having “all hands on deck,” with agencies collaborating to tackle the opioid crisis. No one organization or method can solve it alone, she said, and the time to act is now.

Sam Quinones followed, discussing the causes of the epidemic. He reported that the pain management "revolution" resulted from drug companies’ marketing of oxycontin as a virtually non-addictive pill to cure all pain. Instead of alternative, less dangerous pain management strategies, patients began to demand this quick fix, ultimately expanding the heroin market. Quinones views the breakdown of community over the past 35 years as a major contributing factor. “The single greatest antidote to heroin is community,” he writes. “Bring people out of their private rooms... [and] people may emerge from this plague more compassionate, more grounded than ever.” 

The afternoon plenary session featured Michael Botticelli, who, as a person in recovery himself, outlined solutions to this problem. He discussed the importance of reducing stigma by simple changes in the language we use, such as referring to someone having a “substance use disorder,” rather than as a “substance abuser.” He also emphasized the need for more medical school training surrounding addiction and increased insurance coverage for treatment. 

The conference ended with a panel of four experts discussing regional and national policies currently addressing opioid use. The AMA's Dr. Patrice Harris prompted attendees to “dig deep and ask why,” these issues exist. For example, why do individuals hoard pills? Is it because they can’t afford the $10 copay? She emphasized there is no single solution for this epidemic, no "one size fits all" answer, as each situation has intricacies and barriers to recovery we cannot discount. She discussed the fact that 9 out of 10 individuals who have substance use disorders cannot access treatment. She echoed Botticelli’s remarks about the importance of reducing stigma, and limiting the use of pejorative language when referencing affected individuals.

There is a full archive of the plenary sessions on the event website if you are interested in hearing more. The 2nd annual "Response to the Opioid Crisis" summit has already been scheduled and will be held in Bangor on July 23rd, 2020. 

You can read another article about the summit at: https://mainedoenews.net/2019/07/18/a-hopeful-path-forward-at-maines-opiate-crisis-summit/

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