Plenary Sessions

Monday, March 30, 2015 /8:45 a.m.–10:15 a.m.
Challenges and Opportunities to Impact the Opioid Dependence Crisis

  • Jonathan P. Connell, MA, President, Private Clinics, and TLC Clinic, Albany, GA
  • Frank W. Berry, III, Commissioner, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), Atlanta, GA
  • Mark W. Parrino, MPA, President, American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc. (AATOD), New York, NY
  • Merrill Norton, PharmD, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

As opioid dependence becomes part of the national and international conversation, the Opening Plenary Session will review AATOD’s projects and efforts in the Southeast and around the world to expand knowledge of and decrease stigma of medication assisted treatment. Jonathan P. Connell will welcome the attendees and provide an overview of this exciting conference. Mr. Connell will be followed by a very special welcome to Georgia by Frank W. Berry, Commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Mr. Mark Parrino, AATOD President, will provide an overview of the challenges, opportunities, and accomplishments of AATOD. Dr. Merrill Norton will provide the closing remarks and present information regarding nationwide and state efforts to address opioid dependence from a pharmacy/ pharmacist perspective. Dr. Norton will also explore efforts to coordinate care and reduce the escalation of addiction from the perspective of a pharmacist and educator.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015/8:45 a.m.–10:15 a.m.
Addressing a Public Health Crisis: Opioid Dependence

Jonathan P. Connell, MA, President, Private Clinics, and TLC Clinic, Albany, GA


  • Richard C. Dart, MD, Director, Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, and Executive Director, Researched Abuse, Diversion, and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS® System), Denver, CO
  • Reverend Fred Wells Brason, II, President/CEO, Project Lazarus, and Project Director, Community Care of North Carolina’s Medicaid Management System Statewide Chronic Pain Initiative, Moravian Falls, NC
  • Thomas Frieden, MD, Director, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

The conference theme “Addressing a Public Health Crisis: Opioid Dependence” will be explored during the themed Middle Plenary.  The three speakers are leaders within their fields and will discuss how each experiences the opioid dependence crisis and how they work to address the issue. Dr. Richard Dart will discuss current trends in prescription drug abuse research and how current strategies can ensure the safe and proper use of prescription medications. From a different perspective, Reverend Brason will discuss how Project Lazarus efforts have affected the opioid dependence health crisis through opioid prescribing practices, emergency department interventions, treatment provision, and overdose rescue medication provision. The final speaker, Dr. Thomas Frieden, will provide the public health perspective and how this can improve prevention and treatment efforts.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015 /11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
The Federal Response to the Opioid Dependence Crisis

Mark W. Parrino, MPA, President, American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc. (AATOD), New York, NY


  • Michael P. Botticelli, MEd, Acting Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Washington, DC
  • Pamela S. Hyde, JD, Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Rockville, MD

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are the two leading federal agencies involved in developing and implementing drug addiction policies in the United States. We are fortunate to have their leaders close our conference, advising attendees on how their agencies are working to effectively coordinate policy into the future. Mr. Michael Botticelli will provide an understanding of how ONDCP is responding to the public health crisis of opioid addiction in the United States, focusing on the National Drug Control Strategy and ONDCP specific initiatives to confront this public health challenge. Administrator Pamela Hyde will focus on SAMHSA’s past, current, and future efforts to address the need for increased treatment in order to provide access to care for people who are clearly in crisis. It is an important closing to our conference as we prepare to deal with the challenges that lie ahead in an era of increasing opioid addiction.


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