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Independence Blue Cross Foundation hosts national opioid crisis conference

Speakers include U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, M.D., MPH, Independence CEO Daniel J. Hilferty

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) today hosts Someone You Know: Facing the Opioid Crisis Together — a conference aimed at sharing strategies that promote improving the health of individuals and communities affected by the opioid epidemic. Today’s event brings together prominent public health leaders to explore education, intervention, treatment, and the stigma associated with substance use disorder and other barriers to recovery.

The program features an opening leadership panel with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, M.D., MPH; Independence Blue Cross CEO Daniel J. Hilferty; and Luke Gorman, co-founder of the Flock at Saint Joseph University, one of the region’s only collegiate recovery programs. Justin Minyard, MSG, US Army (Retired), Boston Scientific Neuromodulation will provide a keynote address about his personal battle with addiction. Additional guest panelists include Sr. Mary Scullion, Executive Director, Project HOME; Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, CEO, National League for Nursing; and Tony Luke, Jr., Restaurateur, #BrownandWhite Initiative Against Heroin Abuse. Guests also include people in active recovery or supporting someone in treatment.

At the conference, Hilferty will also announce the largest grant ever given by the Foundation. The grant to Caron Treatment Centers will expand substance use disorder education and prevention initiatives in communities throughout the southeastern region in Pennsylvania. The grant will be made through the Foundation’s Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Initiative.

The new grant supports several Caron programs, including ones focused on youth prevention education and support groups for youth impacted by the substance use disorder of a loved one. The funding also expands Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training for nurses and other school-based professionals who work with children.

SBIRT is a community- and evidence-based approach to help identify signs of substance use issues. Although schools are required to provide student education annually regarding substance use, there is no universal screening process to identify students who have or are at-risk for substance use. Expanding SBIRT training to nurses in schools and health centers and to community-based organizations who have direct contact with youth and young adults will close a gap in the frontline of this epidemic.

“The opioid crisis is the worst drug crisis in our country’s history and fighting it is one of our top priorities,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. “Today’s conference focuses not just on opioid misuse but also the stigma often associated with substance abuse, which can be a significant barrier to recovery. We are encouraged by the progress made through the Independence Blue Cross Foundation — which has invested more than $2 million to address this pressing cause — as well as through changes to our medical policies to reduce opioid prescriptions and help people get the treatment they need.”

“Addiction is a brain disease that touches families across America — even my own,” said U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams. “We need to work together to put an end to stigma.”

In Philadelphia, there were more than 1,200 overdose deaths in 2017 and there are currently more than 14,000 people in treatment for opioid use disorder. The Foundation, through its STOP initiative, is increasing awareness about the opioid epidemic and improving access to opioid abuse prevention and treatment in southeastern PA through a variety of strategies and regional partnerships, such as:

  • Someone You Know,” a multimedia public awareness campaign focused on reducing the stigma of opioid misuse and inspiring hope in people seeking help with addiction and recovery
  • A regional study to establish best practices for Emergency Department “warm hand-off” programs that connect overdose victims immediately with treatment programs
  • A partnership with Walgreens to expand safe medication disposal program capacity in Philadelphia, Bucks, and Delaware counties
  • Education and support programs such as One Day At A Time and the Moyer Foundation

Today’s conference is sponsored by the following organizations:

Presenting Sponsor: Caron Treatment Centers

Leadership Sponsor: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Engagement Sponsors:

  • American Solutions for Business
  • Drexel University
  • La Salle University
  • PECO
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Tierney Communications

Collaboration Sponsors:

  • Adapt Pharma
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Saint Joseph’s University
  • Temple University College of Public Health

Community Sponsors:

  • Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • Premier Orthopaedics
  • Public Health Management Corporation
  • Project HOME
  • Urban Affairs Coalition

About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation:
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The Foundation targets the following areas of impact:

  • Securing the Blue Safety Net: Strengthening the safety net of private, nonprofit health centers that provide access to quality, affordable health care in medically underserved areas.
  • Bolstering the Health Care Workforce: Advancing the nursing workforce through education and professional development.
  • Addressing Health Priorities: Finding local solutions to national health issues through research and cross-sector partnerships. Currently focusing on the opioid epidemic through the Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) initiative.
  • Community Innovation Grants: Supports pilot projects that pursue innovative approaches to health-focused challenges in the community.

Learn more by visiting our website: Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on Twitter.

Media Contact:
Ruth Stoolman
Independence Blue Cross
215-241-4807 (o)
215-667-9537 (c)

Independence Blue Cross Foundation Team

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is leading a future for equitable health in our communities and nation. The IBC Foundation’s grant programs and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation Institute for Health Equity are advancing three areas of impact: Access to Care, the Healthcare Workforce, and Health Equity. Since inception the IBC Foundation’s most important stakeholder – the community – has been at the center of the work. By the end of 2023, the IBC Foundation will have awarded grants totaling more than $80 million to support nonprofits and research improving the health and well-being of communities in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Learn more by visiting our website: Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on LinkedIn.

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