Overdose Lifeline — “IU bringing rural residents, state leaders together to strengthen communities at IU Rural Conference”

The Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge initiative engages a broad array of IU’s world-class faculty, as well as IU’s business, nonprofit and government partners. Working together, the groups are contributing to an initiative to implement a comprehensive plan to reduce deaths from addiction, ease the burden of drug addiction on Hoosier communities and improve health and economic outcomes. This initiative is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive state-based responses to the opioid addiction crisis — and the largest led by a university.

The first Indiana University Rural Conference will engage local leaders, professionals and residents in discussions and sessions focused on the issues of greatest importance to Hoosiers in rural communities on May 13 and 14 at the French Lick Springs Resort.

Hosted by the IU Center for Rural Engagement, the IU Rural Conference sessions will draw upon the work underway through more than 100 initiatives and projects launched in partnership by the center and rural communities, as well as IU’s Grand Challenge initiatives and regional and statewide resources and data.

The CRE's Data Summit in October held sessions on rural Indiana's opportunities and research.
The IU Rural Conference will host sessions on health, quality of place, and resilience, including recent water quality and mapping initiatives with Indiana Geological and Water Survey and the Hoosier Resilience Index, developed by IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute.  

“The conference will bring an expansive view of the opportunities and challenges of our rural communities, and pair those with specific, action-focused information to empower residents across the region,” said Kerry Thomson, executive director of the IU Center for Rural Engagement.

The conference will include keynote remarks from Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel and Indiana Youth Institute Vice President Charlie Geier. Attendees will learn about initiatives, programs and opportunities in breakout sessions on mental health and addiction, community resilience and quality of place as well as roundtable discussions to encourage networking and connections across the region and state.

On May 13, IU’s Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge initiative team — along with IU Health, Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition and Overdose Lifeline, a statewide nonprofit addressing the opioid public health crisis — will provide naloxone training to attendees.

In addition, as part of Grand Challenge efforts, IU has partnered with the Indiana Supreme Court and state agencies to help train almost 1,000 court and law enforcement officials on medically assisted treatment for addictions, and led a coalition of nonprofit groups and government agencies to distribute naloxone kits and provide training in their use across Indianapolis. The May 13 training will follow a forum that will share information about the opioid epidemic in the state.

The naloxone training session is open to the public and will take place at 2:15 p.m. in the Hoosier wing of the French Lick Springs Resort conference center. Free naloxone will be distributed by program partner IU Health following the session. Full conference registration is not required to participate in this single session.

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