2018 SLLF Fall Issues Summit

State legislative leaders from across the nation met in Baltimore to confront America’s number one public health crisis: drug addiction. Our partners in this timely program were the Center on Addiction and Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

Perhaps we have become too cynical about drug addiction and we’re starting to think there is no end to this scourge that claims countless lives every single day. Some of us might still think that drugs are “Not my problem.” Sadly, this claim no longer rings true as just about every person in the country has been affected in some way by drug addiction. We’re all connected.

Despite all the shocking statistics, many remain unconvinced that we can defeat this indiscriminate killer. We reject this proposition and history is on our side. When Americans pull together we can do just about anything. This is our chance to show once again that we’re made of the right stuff.

This is one of those seminal moments when we can unite to defeat a common enemy. And oddly enough, taking on addiction may very well do more to bind the wounds of harsh partisanship than any other issue.

Our program at Johns Hopkins showed just how much we can accomplish working across party lines to achieve victory against this common foe. We assembled a world-class faculty comprised of individuals who have dedicated their lives to this issue. The program also featured legislators who are doing amazing work in their states and engage with leaders from the business community who are willing and able to be part of the solution.

We have an opportunity to make a difference.



Addressing Stigma
 Rep. Phil Spagnuolo, Jr., New Hampshire House of Representatives
Stigma Session Handout

Preventing Addiction Before it Starts
Jenny Swider, The Herren Project
Jonathan Hock, Hock Films
Prevention Session Handout

Improving Addiction Treatment in the Health Care System
Facilitator: Caleb Alexander, Johns Hopkins University
Discussants: Dr. Daniel Winn, VP and Chief Medical Director, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShieldDr. Sabina Lim, MD, MPH, Vice President and Chief of Strategy, Behavioral Health, for the Mount Sinai Health System
Treatment Session Handout
Winn Presentation
Lim Presentation

View from the Executive Branch
Hon. Boyd Rutherford, Lt. Governor of Maryland

What Employers Can do to Address Addiction in the Workplace
Dr. Eric Goplerud, Adjunct Research Professor, George Washington University
Employer Session Handout
Goplerud Presentation

Addiction Care in the Criminal Justice System

Dr. Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, DABAM, Medical Director Kingsboro Addiction Treatment Center
Dr. Jennifer Clarke, Medical Program Director, Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Criminal Justice Session Handout
Roy Presentation
Clarke Presentation


Breaking the Intergenerational Cycle of Addiction

Dr. Nancy Young, Executive Director, Children and Family Futures
Tina Willauer, Program Director, Children and Family Futures
Child Welfare Session Handout
Young Presentation
Willauer Presentation
Session Recommended Readings

Delaware’s “Three Year Action Plan” for Addressing the Opioid Crisis
Bethany Hall-Long, Lt. Governor of Delaware
Behavioral Health Consortium, Three Year Action Plan

A State’s Experience Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
Facilitator: Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community
Engagement, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Discussants: Dr. Rahul Gupta, Commissioner of West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer
Rep. Joe Ellington, West Virginia House of Delegates

Related Readings

In April 2017, we co-hosted a policy summit – “Addressing the Opioid Crisis in America: Strategies that Work!” with Center on Addiction (formerly, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse –  CASA).

Participant feedback on the summit was overwhelmingly positive. Several of the legislative participants asked for a “checklist” of things that they should be doing and models or examples of states that were effectively addressing the epidemic. As a follow-up to the conference, Center on Addiction prepared a guide “Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers.” You can download a copy of the guide here

Also recommended by Center on Addiction

Politico Magazine, “The Real Scandal in the Fight Against Opioids” (July 21, 2018)

New York Times (Editorial): States Show the Way on the Opioid Epidemic (August 24, 2018)

Vox (German Lopez): We’re failing in the opioid crisis. A new study shows a more serious approach would save lives. (August 23, 2018)

POLITICO Magazine (Erick Trickey): How the Smallest State is Defeating America’s Biggest Addiction Crisis (August 25, 2018)

Survey for Legislative Leaders

In preparation for the 2018 Opioid Summit, SLLF sent a survey to legislative leaders in all states. The survey was designed by our partners at Center on Addiction to give us essential information about how state legislative leaders see the Opioid Epidemic that is hollowing out every state in our nation.

Center on Addiction has reviewed the surveys and prepared a summary of the results.

Click here to view their report.


Rep. Phil Spagnuolo, New Hampshire House of Representatives

Elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in February, Phil Spagnuolo is one of the newest members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He is also in recovery from drug addiction and a professional drug recovery counselor. In other words, Spagnuolo knows the addiction crisis from all sides- victim, counselor and policy maker. He has felt the stigma that as an individual with addiction and he has seen what effective treatment can do. Join us in Baltimore to hear his inspiring story and find out what YOU can do to help remove that stigma and make sure people suffering from addiction get the treatment they need to beat this illness.

Dr. Daniel J. Winn,  Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Daniel Winn M.D. is Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.  He oversees clinically related operations and medical policies with the goal of improving overall quality and access of care.  Dr. Winn will provide oversight in the integration of professional staff areas including Medical, Behavioral Health, Dental, Clinical Quality and Medical Policy.  Come hear Dr. Winn discuss how his company and others provide coverage and support for those undergoing treatment for addiction and find out what YOU can do to encourage such coverage in your state.

Sabina Lim, MD, MPH, Vice President and Chief of Strategy, Behavioral Health, for the Mount Sinai Health System

Dr. Sabina Lim oversees the clinical, financial, and administrative performance of Behavioral Health services across the Mount Sinai Health System, which includes more than 350 inpatient behavioral health beds and 60 outpatient clinics and specialty programs, with more than one million ambulatory visits. Join Dr. Lim to learn about the importance of integrating addiction treatment in the health care system, the barriers to achieving this integration, and how YOU can help overcome them.

Eric Goplerud, Vice President of the Public Health Department, NORC at the University of Chicago

Everyone knows that families pay a heavy price for opioid addiction. However, did you know that employers in the public and private sectors also pay a heavy price? Three-quarters of the more than 20 million Americans with a substance use disorder are part of the workforce and absenteeism, lost productivity and the health care costs associated with addiction cost companies millions of dollars a year. But there is hope. Employers can help their workers by providing or paying for treatment and offering other supports. Every employee who is able to beat their addiction saves their employer an estimated $3,200 per year in lost wages and health care costs. Find out from Eric Goplerud, one of the nation’s experts on the productivity costs of addiction about what YOU can do in your legislature or at your company to save your employees and save money at the same time.

The Honorable Boyd Rutherford, Lt. Governor Maryland

On February 24, 2015, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan sign two Executive Orders.  The first created the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task force and the second created the Inter-Agency Coordinating Council. Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford was chosen to lead both groups. The purpose of the Task Force was to conduct meetings across the state to find out what is working and what is not. The objective of the Council was to coordinate the numerous agencies that are involved in tackling and defeating this crisis. In explaining necessity of initiatives, Lt. Governor Rutherford noted, “”We are now faced with a situation where deaths from heroin overdoses are outpacing the murder rate,” Let’s listen to the Lt. Governor and see if this is something that YOU might want to try in your state!

Dr. Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, DABAM, Medical Director Kingsboro Addiction Treatment Center

Dr. Lipi Roy has seen and done it all. A physician who specializes in understanding and treating addiction, she is currently the Medical Director of the Kingsboro Addiction Treatment Center in Brooklyn, New York and a Clinical Professor at the NYU School of Medicine. She is also a regular contributor on local and national media and the Huffington Post. Dr. Roy is a former Harvard Doctor and the former Chief of Addiction at Rikers Island Prison. She knows the cost and impact that addiction has on our prisons and individuals who have addiction and are involved with the criminal justice system. And, she knows how effective addiction treatment in prisons can change lives, save money and significantly reduce recidivism. Join Dr. Roy to find out what YOU can do to save lives and money in your state by supporting addiction treatment programs in your state’s prisons.

Dr. Jennifer Clarke, Medical Program Director, Rhode Island Department of Corrections

Dr. Jennifer Clarke is the Medical Program Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections and under her watchful eye, the RIDOC in 2016 initiated the first comprehensive prison-based Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program in the country. The program screens all inmates in Rhode Island for opioid use and provides treatment for those in need. The program makes three drugs available to help treat opioid addiction: methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), and naltrexone (Vivitrol). Methadone and buprenorphine are opioid drugs used to treat addiction by easing withdrawal symptoms and preventing cravings; naltrexone is used to block opioid receptors so that individuals cannot experience the effects of opioids. With this approach, there was a 61-percent decrease in deaths among individuals released from incarceration. Further, the program assists incarcerated individuals in finding treatment upon release. Perhaps YOUR state can try this innovative and effective approach!

Nancy Young, Executive Director of Children and Family Futures

The opioid epidemic is overwhelming the child welfare and foster care systems as children are removed from their homes due to parental substance use. This has a negative impact on the children and their parents and overwhelms an already strained system. Dr. Nancy Young is the Executive Director of Children and Family Futures, a research and policy institute that helps develop effective programs for families impacted by substance use disorder. Dr. Young will offer recommendations and strategies to effectively protect children living in families with addiction in YOUR state.  

Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Josh Sharfstein oversees the Office of Public Health Practice and Training and is director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Previously, he served as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City, and as health policy advisor for Congressman Henry A. Waxman. Dr. Dr. Sharfstein has worked very closely with several states, including West Virginia, to develop a comprehensive strategy for dealing with this crisis. Join us in Baltimore to see if the strategies that have worked in West Virginia might work in YOUR state.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, Commissioner and State Health Officer
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health

Since 2014, West Virginia has held the grim distinction of having the highest overdose death rate in the country, according to Centers for Disease Control. In 2016, West Virginia’s death rate was nearly three times the national average. In the Fall of 2017, Dr. Rahul Gupta, West Virginia’s Public Health Commissioner ordered his team to conduct an in depth analysis of each of the 887 West Virginians who died of an overdose in 2017. Based on the findings of that research and with the assistance of state and federal grants, Dr. Gupta launched several programs dedicated to reducing that death rate and it seems to be working. In the last six months of 2017, overdoses were down by 25 percent from the previous year. Come hear Dr. Gupta tell West Virginia’s story and see if he says something that YOU might use back in your state.

By |2018-09-28T11:25:56+00:00January 3rd, 2018|