January 18, 2013 | By: Katie Pratt

Community organizers from Kentucky and surrounding states will gather in Lexington to develop local and regional partnerships and strengthen grassroots efforts to curtail substance abuse Jan. 23-24 at the Different Faces of Substance Abuse Conference.

Hosted by the University of Kentucky at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa, the conference is in its fourth year and is at capacity for participants.

“The conference provides resources for grassroots efforts in learning about the causes, solutions and opportunities to address substance abuse,” said Jeanne Davis, coordinator of the conference’s team of organizers and program coordinator for the UK Cooperative Extension Service. “The conference continues to be relevant and provide new information.”

 Ann Vail, director of UK’s School of Human Environmental Sciences and assistant director of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, said the conference provides important information that helps extension agents and community leaders educate others.

“Substance abuse impacts all of us whether it is in our home, workplace, school, neighborhood or community,” she said. “This conference takes a multi-level approach to substance abuse and how people can work together to address it.”

Members of the conference organizing team, Cathy Prothro and Lynsey Sugarman see the conference’s value in their everyday work.

“The primary goal of getting good information on substance abuse (primarily prescription drug abuse) to substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals, community coalition members, education experts, enforcement specialists and the general public is so important,” said Prothro, coordinator of the Kentucky regional prevention center system for the Division of Behavioral Health. “However, the additional benefit of making connections with previously untapped community partners might have a more lasting impact on positive change.”

“The Different Faces of Substance Abuse Conference has been one of the most productive, satisfying collaborations in which I have participated,” said Sugarman, administrator for the Lexington Mayor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse and the Fayette County Local Agency for Substance Abuse Policy Board. “It has brought together a diverse group from throughout the Commonwealth and provided an effective forum to share resources and knowledge as we work together to address prescription drug abuse in Kentucky. I commend the UK College of Agriculture for their leadership in this effort.”

Speakers during the first day of the conference include Shannon Weatherly, acting administrator of the Drug Free Communities Support Program in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Dr. Sharon Stancliff, medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition in New York City.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will be among the featured speakers on the second day.

More conference information also is available on Facebook under The Different Faces of Substance Abuse and through Twitter @FacesDrugAbuse.

Conference sponsors include the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and its School of Human Environmental Sciences, UK Cooperative Extension Service, UK College of Medicine, UK College of Pharmacy, UK College of Social Work, Bluegrass Prevention Center, Lexington Mayor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse, Fayette County ASAP, Kentucky Division of Behavioral Health, Kentucky Department of Corrections, West Kentucky Family Enrichment Center, Together We Care KY-ASAP and Operation UNITE.

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