Dr. Charles Atkins, chief medical officer at Community Mental Health Affiliates, LLC, of New Britain. Contributed photo.

Dr. Charles Atkins, chief medical officer at Community Mental Health Affiliates, LLC, of New Britain. Contributed photo.

Dr. Charles Atkins, chief medical officer at Community Mental Health Affiliates, LLC, of New Britain, will be the featured speaker at the program, “The Opioid Epidemic: Assessment, Intervention and Call to Action: A Public Health Approach,” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University, 370 Bassett Road. The Connecticut Women’s Consortium and the master of social work program at Quinnipiac, are co-sponsoring the program.

In addition, the program will feature a panel discussion featuring: Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; Allison Kernan, who is in recovery; State Rep. Sean Scanlon; and Karen Zaorski, a former state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services social worker who lost her 26-year-old son to a drug overdose six years ago. Zaorski is now an administrator and moderator for The Compassionate Friends – Loss to Substance Related Causes, an online support group with 2,500 members.

The current opioid epidemic in the United States, which includes a death rate from overdoses that exceeds those caused by motor vehicle accidents, is a public health crisis. This day-long workshop will explore how we got to where we are and which strategies, including medication-assisted treatment and legislative changes, are being implemented to turn back the tide of disability and death. The program is for individuals who work in the behavioral health field, including social workers, addiction counselors, nurses, physicians, behavioral health and community administrative leaders, as well as lawyers, law enforcement, emergency medical staff, community policy makers and legislatures and students.

The program will present a public-health perspective, including primary, secondary and tertiary interventions, and includes a discussion on how to accurately assess an individual with an opioid-use disorder. Presenters will review gender, culture and age-specific factors, including pregnancy and the post-partum period.

Since the majority of individuals with opioid-use disorders often will have at least one co-occurring mental health problem and often other related medical issues, presenters will explore a whole-person approach. This includes strategies to diagnose and construct treatment to ensure that all active issues are addressed. The program content includes the use of standard diagnostic criteria, public-domain screening tools, current psychopharmacological interventions and a broad range of evidence-based therapeutic and theoretical strategies.

As chief medical officer at Community Mental Health Affiliates, LLC, Atkins works with people with substance use and mental disorders. He is a national presenter and trainer, published fiction and nonfiction author, member of the Yale volunteer clinical faculty and a sub-committee co-chair for the current Commissioners’ Alcohol and Drug Policy Council (ADPC). His recent books include: “Co-Occurring Disorders: The Integrated Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use and Mental Disorders” and mysteries and thrillers penned as both Charles Atkins and Caleb James.

Participants are eligible to receive six (6) continuing education units (CEUs) from the CT Association of Social Workers (NASW), Continuing Medical Education (CME), and the CT Certification Board (CCB).

To register for this training visit: http://training.womensconsortium.org. Registration is $85. For more information, call 203-909-6888.

Posted by Chris

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