Wellmont To Host Prescription Drug Abuse Conference; U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Representative To Speak

Wellmont Health System is holding an informative event that will help the community and medical providers better understand an issue that is impacting the region.

Wellmont is sponsoring a free prescription drug abuse conference on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 6-9 p.m. in the Monarch Auditorium at Bristol Regional Medical Center. It will also be available via video conference to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport; Hancock County Hospital in Sneedville; Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap, Va.;  and Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Norton, Va.

The event is open to the public as well as a variety of professionals who have been affected by this major health topic or want to learn more about it.

The conference will consist of a presentation by Robert Hill, a highly respected speaker who serves as executive assistant to the deputy assistant administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Diversion Control.

His talk will include a description of prescription drug abuse’s scope in the United States, methods of illegal prescription drug usage, red flags that someone might be participating in this activity and law enforcement efforts to combat it.

“This event will be extremely beneficial in helping people understand the many facets of prescription drug abuse,” said Vickie Boatman, Wellmont’s organizational development director. “Unfortunately, our region has not been immune from this health issue, as has been evident in recent stories by local media, but this conference will give participants valuable tools they can apply in combating prescription drug use.”

Hill has worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration since 1989. He served as a special agent for 11 years and then as a supervisory agent for five years. He then became a staff coordinator in the DEA’s Latin America and Caribbean section for three years, followed by three years as section chief of the DEA’s pharmaceuticals investigation section.

Since 2006, he has given more than 100 briefings, interviews and presentations throughout the United States and to foreign government officials on law enforcement pertaining to drugs as well as prescription drug abuse.

Among his current duties are helping the deputy assistant administrator oversee and coordinate major pharmaceutical, precursor chemical, clandestine laboratory and synthetic drug investigations.

“Many co-workers in our organization have heard Mr. Hill speak and felt his dynamic presentation would help the community and professionals in the area understand what we are facing nationally and locally,” Boatman said. “We are pleased someone of his stature and expertise is coming here to share his knowledge with us.”

Physicians, nurses and emergency medical services personnel will able to obtain continuing medical education credit for attending this conference.

For more information, please call Wellmont’s continuing medical education department at 423-408-7218 or 423-408-7217.