Kentucky officials taking part in summit addressing drug abuse

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ATLANTA (WKYT) - A four-day summit addressing the drug abuse problem in the United States kicked off Monday in Atlanta.

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin delivered the keynote speech on the first night of the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit.

Bevin told the crowd everyone shares responsibility in the fight against painkiller abuse.

"Failure is not an option," Bevin said. "It comes at a price we literally cannot afford. We cannot afford the human price, we cannot afford the financial price, we cannot afford the cultural price, the spiritual price, the emotional price, we can't afford the price."

The governor also touted a new Kentucky law placing a three-day limit on some opioid prescriptions.

He also asked for doctors to be better trained on the dangers of prescribing opioids.

Healthcare professionals, along with law enforcement, social workers, teachers, government officials and others made up the more than 2,000 attendees on Monday.

This gathering is the brain child of Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers.

"It is the only place where all of these institutions that have something to do with fighting the opioid abuse come together under one roof, and we learn from each other," Rogers said.

It is the largest annual conference addressing the opioid crisis.

The Summit began in 2012 under the leadership of Operation UNITE and Rep. Rogers.

The University of Kentucky is also playing a key role at this year's summit. President Eli Capilouto and researchers are sharing information on topics like opioid abuse disorder in pregnant women.

"What we like to say is University for Kentucky," Capilouto said. "This scourge is our problem just as it is all of those who have faced addiction."

Dozens of different workshops will take place on Tuesday, along with a presentation by the U.S. Surgeon General.

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