CCRI to host symposium on opioid alternatives

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The Community College of Rhode Island’s health sciences departments will host the second in a series of awareness events about the pre-eminent public health crisis of our time – opioid addiction.

The Non-Opioid Pain Treatment Symposium will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, in Room 4080 at the college’s Knight Campus, 400 East Ave., Warwick. The event is free of charge and open to all.

The symposium will present data the Rhode Island Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force has collected about the crisis. Two panel discussions will follow. The first includes Rhode Island public officials charged with action steps to reduce drug-related dependency and deaths. During the second panel, medical professionals will present data about the success of non-opioid pain treatment therapies.

The symposium will encourage discussion about changing the culture of pain management and promote evidence-based non-opioid therapies for chronic pain, such as clinical massage therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, neuropathic medicine and behavioral therapy.

“The goal of the symposium is share the size and impact of the crisis in Rhode Island and what we are doing about it,” said Regina Cobb, director of CCRI’s Therapeutic Massage program. “Health professionals who attend will better understand their role and the evidence-based interventions they can use for pain management.”

Dr. James McDonald, chief administrative officer, Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline at the Rhode Island Department of Health, will moderate the panels.

The first panel on understanding the crisis will include Peter Neronha, candidate for Rhode Island attorney general; Tom Coderre, senior adviser to the governor and co-chair of the Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force; Linda Hurley, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare; Joee Lindbeck, assistant attorney general; and Lt. Cmdr. Kasim Yarn, director of veterans affairs in Rhode Island.

Panel two, featuring pain management practitioners speaking about non-opioid pain treatment approaches, includes Victoria Moutahir, massage therapist; Charlotte King, acupuncturist; Chrysanthi Kazantzis, naturopathic doctor; Jason Harvey, physical therapist; Nancy Dooley, occupational therapist; Alan Post, chiropractic services; and Dr. Ellen Flynn, Brown’s Mindfulness Center.

U.S. Rep. James Langevin, who has supported and co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation aimed at ending the opioid crisis, will provide closing remarks.

“Rhode Island is among the states hardest hit by the opioid overdose epidemic. We need federal resources for treatment and recovery to help families struggling on the front lines of this public health crisis,” Langevin said. “But we must also work to halt addiction before it takes root. I look forward to this symposium to learn more about evidence-based non-opioid treatment alternatives and their use in managing pain.”

All participants who complete the session will receive a certificate of completion that can be used to apply for CEUs for various disciplines such as social work, peer certification and more. Learn more about the symposium and register online at www.ccri.edu/rehabhealth/opioidsymposium.

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