PACIFIC BEACH (NEWS 8) - Health leaders from across the country have converged on San Diego for a two-day opioid addiction summit to discuss ways to curb the nation's dependency on lethal opioids.
Acting U.S. Attorney General Alana Robinson teamed up with local and national health leaders Wednesday to launch the summit, the first of its kind, at a hotel in Pacific Beach. The idea was to bring health experts from across the country together, from the family of people killed by opioids to the doctors who prescribe them, and discuss the epidemic recently declared a public health emergency by President Donald Trump from all angles.
Dr. Roneet Lev, Chief of Emergency at Scripps Mercy Hospital, has been studying opioid-related deaths in San Diego County for nearly a decade. She said that one of the toughest things to balance as a doctor is that their job is to help patients and prescribe medication that is supposed to help their pain, but often times it's abused.
"All of the sudden I saw my name," Dr. Lev said explaining an instance where she saw her name on the medical examiner's report of a patient who died from an opioid overdose. "How could that be? I am, like, the biggest advocate. I know more about this epidemic than most physicians and I saw my name on a prescription and that rattled me to the core."
Experts say that while opioid-related deaths are preventable, the solution to the problem is not easy and that it starts with everyone coming together.
Dr. Lev is hosting a public session on opioid use for parents on Wednesday night. Thursday will feature a training session for a medication that can help stop an overdose in its tracks.
More information can be found at www.hope2gether.org.