U.S. Rep. Kuster ’78 Joins Opioid Crisis Talks at Dartmouth

News subtitle

Geisel’s Center for Technology and Behavioral Health to present innovative research.

Anne Kuster
Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., sits on stage during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster ’78, founder and co-chair of the House Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, and Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), are coming to Dartmouth next week to hear about new treatment and prevention methods developed to confront the spike in opioid overdose deaths in New Hampshire.

“New Hampshire ranks in the top two in the country—neck-and-neck with West Virginia—for overdose deaths per capita,” says Lisa Marsch, director of the Dartmouth Center for Technology and Behavioral Health at the Geisel School of Medicine.

Geisel and the Center for Technology are hosting the May 30 conference, titled “Harnessing the Power of Science to Break the Cycle.”

Marsch will share findings from the center’s NIDA-funded “New Hampshire HotSpot Study,” which examined the social, medical, economic, and political factors at the root of the crisis through interviews with clinicians, emergency responders, and scores of opioid drug users. NIDA is a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Kuster says the situation demands immediate action. “We are facing an opioid crisis here in New Hampshire requiring a thorough and comprehensive response that includes treatment and recovery services, prevention and awareness, and law enforcement efforts.”

The focus of the Dartmouth conference is to share some of the work going on to tackle the problem at its source, she says. “Improved science and understanding of how addiction works and how it should be addressed is critical to most effectively taking on the opioid epidemic.”

Volkow will deliver the keynote address, titled “The Collision of the Pain and Opioid Epidemics—Challenges and Solutions,” offering a national perspective on these issues.

“The research being spearheaded by Dartmouth and Dr. Volkow has the promise to change how we treat people suffering from substance use disorders and improve patient outcomes,” says Kuster.

After presentations from clinicians, human services providers, and emergency responders, Volkow and Kuster will lead a discussion with all the conference participants.

This event, sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Geisel, and the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, is scheduled for 1-5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, at Dartmouth’s Collis Common Ground. Registration is required.

Bill Platt