University of Michigan teams up with Harvard to host opioid summit in Ypsilanti

Event is first of its kind

By Priya Mann - Reporter, Derick Hutchinson

YPSILANTI, Mich. - The University of Michigan and Harvard University have entered into a rare partnership to battle the opioid crisis.

"I feel like I'm part of the opioid epidemic, but my well-intended care contributed to the epidemic, and I didn't mean to," U of M Dr. Chad Brummitt said.

Academics have long studied addiction, but now they're talking directly to doctors and lawmakers to reverse the opioid crisis.

"At its root, at its core, the opioid epidemic is a prescribing problem created by doctors and prescribers," Brummitt said.

Beyond prescribing fewer meds, doctors and researchers are exploring new ways to tackle the deadly problem.

"The evidence suggests that medication-assisted treatments are part of a comprehensive treatment behavioral therapy, which are very effective exercises, yoga, because it's frankly easier to write a prescription," Brummitt said.

One challenge for doctors is that medication that could aid in recovery isn't always easy to prescribe. The other is how people pay for treatment. Organizers are looking at insurance companies to bridge the gap.

David Clayton, of Families Against Narcotics, overcame a decade-long addiction to drugs and alcohol and has now devoted his life to helping others.

"There needs to be more treatment facilities," Clayton said. "There needs to be more transitional environments, but I think that an amazing summit put on by two amazing universities and there's going to be a lot of positive feedback from it."

The conference was live streamed, and hundreds of people watched it across the country. Harvard hosted a watch party and will have a follow-up conference in the fall.

Click here to check it out.

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