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2024 Overdose Awareness Series

>2024 Overdose Awareness Series
2024 Overdose Awareness Series 2024-07-24T13:22:53-08:00

Registration is now open!


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Please register for each day you plan to attend.


Through presentations from our own staff and from external experts, we’ll explore unintentional and intentional factors that can lead to overdose, how to respond to different overdose situations, how to prevent and reduce harm from overdose, and how to access resources and treatment in the state of Washington. Our goal is to open dialogue, de-stigmatize, and ensure everyone is aware of the help available in our communities.

As in past years, the series will be free and held online only. This year, the series will take place every Wednesday in August: August 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th. Please register for every day you plan to attend. Reach out to Meghan King (mking@wapc.org) with any questions.

View recordings and materials from the 2023 series 2022 series, and 2021 series.


Buprenorphine: A Panel Discussion
9:00am – 10:45am
This session will start with short presentations from our 4 panelists. Dr. Chris Buresh with UW Medicine/Seattle Children’s will present the 24/7 telebuprenorphine hotline. Dr. Callan Fockele and Dr. Kira Gressman with Harborview Medical Center will discuss efforts in Seattle/King County around field initiation by EMS of buprenorphine. Jordan Mohrenne with South County Fire will discuss similar efforts in Snohomish County. We will then shift to a panel discussion with questions welcomed from attendees.

Christopher Buresh MD, MPH, DTM&H, FAAP, FACEP
Dr. Buresh is an emergency medicine physician and pediatrician. He sees patients at Harborview Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital. His focus is on optimizing the care of adult and pediatric populations when they have acute time-sensitive injuries or illnesses. He also has an interest in understanding how policies, social structures, and economic factors impact people’s health, how they seek care, and their outcomes.

Callan Fockele, MD
Dr. Fockele is an emergency physician with advanced training in population health research and addiction medicine. She works clinically in the Harborview Medical Center Emergency Department and Healthcare in Housing program. She is dedicated to broadening the addiction services provided to the most vulnerable patients seeking emergency care in our community.

Kira Gressman, MD

Jordan Mohrenne
Jordan Mohrenne is a Community Health Worker with South County Fire with more than 5 years of experience working with dual diagnosis, co-occurring mental health, working with substance abusing families involved with the foster care system, and youth treatment. Jordan has worked across the country and served in roles in both urban and rural areas to address SUD in the community.

Safer Use Supplies for Overdose & Infectious Disease Prevention
11:00am – 12:00pm
This session will present the array of safer use supplies available in one syringe services program (SSP) and discuss the public health utility behind distributing such supplies. Melissa Cross and Malia Lewis will provide an overview of supply distribution in an SSP setting and discuss how certain supplies may provide opportunities to offer services beyond what the SSP alone has to offer.
Speakers: Malia Lewis, MSW and Melissa Cross, RN

Malia Lewis, MSW
Malia Lewis, MSW is a syringe services program manager and drug checking technician serving Southeastern Washington at Blue Mountain Heart to Heart. They are a rural harm reductionist and educator who came to this work from an anti-poverty and anti-violence advocacy background. Malia works in the Health Hub program providing drug checking services, overdose prevention education, safer use supplies, and naloxone. They also serve as a member of the Washington state Safe Supply Work Group.

Melissa Cross, RN
Melissa Cross is a registered nurse who has been working at Blue Mountain Heart to Heart for over six years in programs located in Walla Walla, the Tri-Cities and Clarkston in Washington as well as in Pendleton, Oregon. Melissa has worked in the outpatient addiction medicine clinic, on the drug user mobile health unit, as well as in the correctional setting serving those involved in the justice system. Currently Melissa is working in the Health Engagement Hub program seeking to provide primary care, harm reduction, vaccination, HIV/HCV and STI testing and wound care for people who often fall in the gaps of the traditional care continuum.

Silent Intruder: Xylazine’s Impact on Public Health
12:45pm – 1:45pm
In this session, we aim to increase awareness of xylazine, an emerging threat in the drug scene, by educating the audience on its approved uses in veterinary medicine and its misuse in the human population. We will delve into the health impacts and risks associated with xylazine, highlighting both acute and chronic effects, potential for overdose, and the complications that arise in clinical settings. Furthermore, we will provide insights into public health initiatives, community education, the role of poison control centers, and the development of guidelines for healthcare providers to mitigate the impact of xylazine misuse.
Speaker: Sasha Kaiser, MD

Dr. Sasha Kaiser is the Associate Medical Director at the Washington Poison Center. She completed residency training in emergency medicine at Denver Health and Hospital Authority, and a fellowship in medical toxicology at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety.

Meth: The Forgotten Drug
2:00pm – 3:00pm
After this presentation, the participant will understand:
1. What is methamphetamine, to include its effects.
2. Trends – illicit usage to include polysubstance, overdoses, availability/supply.
3. Treatment considerations.
4. Public health response to contaminated sites.
Speaker: Bob Lutz, MD, MPH

Medication Overdose Considerations for Older Adults
3:15pm – 4:30pm
Older adults have many special considerations relating to medication use, as we know age impacts how medications work in our bodies and how we respond to certain medications. We also know that medication misuse and abuse does happen among older adults, and that those special age-related considerations may still apply. In this session we’ll discuss safe medication use, accidental and intentional overdose, and harm reduction strategies to employ when working with the older adult population (age 65+).
Speaker: Abby Winter, PharmD

Dr. Abby Winter is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Pharmacy and is the Assistant Director for Outreach in the Plein Center for Geriatric Pharmacy Research, Education & Outreach at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. She leads the clinical and outreach efforts of the Plein Center at Era Living, a group of Seattle-area Retirement Communities, where her primary focus is to optimize medication use in older adults. Dr. Winter teaches in the Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing at UW. She is a Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP) and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.


Cannabis Use & Psychosis Risk: What Do We Need to Know?
9:00am – 10:05am
As cannabis use has increased worldwide, so has the incidence of psychosis. People who present to the emergency department experiencing a cannabis-induced psychosis event have a much greater risk of developing schizophrenia years later. The Cannabis Education and Research Program led by Dr. Bia Carlini will present emerging trends related to cannabis induced psychosis and psychotic disorders, which populations are at greatest risk, and how clinicians, policymakers, and consumers may be able to mitigate harms.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how acute psychosis events have changed since legalization.
2. Understand the relationship between cannabis-induced psychotic events and psychotic disorders.
3. Name at least two factors that increase risk of experiencing psychosis.
4. Discuss potential interventions that could reduce the number of people who experience mental health harms associated with cannabis use.
Speakers: Beatriz Carlini, PhD, MPH and Sharon Garrett, MA, MPH

Dr. Beatriz Carlini, PhD, MPH
Dr. Beatriz Carlini, PhD, MPH (Bia) is Research Associate Professor at the Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. Her research career has been dedicated to understanding the public health impact of legal psychoactive substance use (such as alcohol, inhalants, tobacco, and cannabis) and policies on social and health outcomes. Since 2016, Dr. Carlini has led the ADAI Cannabis Research and Education Program, including acting as the Program Chair of the UW Cannabis Research Symposium, and conducting cannabis research that assists Washington community-based agencies, government agencies, and policymakers in making decisions and setting priorities.

Sharon Garrett, MPH, MA
Sharon Garrett, MPH, MA is a Research Scientist at the University of Washington’s Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI). She has overseen the implementation of multiple protocols within the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN), evaluating psychosocial and pharmacotherapy interventions for treating substance use disorders. She also participates in the CTN PNW Node Community Engagement subcommittee and contributes to the organization and maintenance of the PNW Node Community Advisory Board which was established in 2023 as a conduit connecting UW research with the needs of our partners.

Since 2012, she has been an active member of ADAI’s Cannabis Education & Research Program (CERP), where she has collaborated on various projects exploring public health impacts of cannabis legalization in WA State. She has been a Project Coordinator in the development of three online trainings; a CME course for healthcare providers on the use of cannabis to treat chronic pain, and two cannabis trainings designed for helpline staff and for the public. She has also contributed to projects funded by the WA State I-502 dedicated marijuana fund to better understand adult cannabis use in the context of legalization, including focus groups with adult cannabis users, cannabis retail store staff, and parents who use cannabis. In 2022, this team evaluated policy options for reducing harms related to high-THC products, resulting in a package of recommendations for the WA State legislature.