Gov. Northam in town for Opioid Summit

Health care providers across Virginia take part in summit


ROANOKE, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam and the Medical Society of Virginia met with health care providers across Virginia for this year's Opioid Summit on Saturday morning.

“This is a real crisis. We lost 12,020 Virginians last year to overdose. We need to come at it from a lot of different angles. We need to be so careful how we treat both acute and chronic pain,” said Northam.

Dr. Patrice Harris, chair of the Opioid Task Force, discussed how physicians, states and other stakeholders must work together to end the nation's opioid epidemic.

“Too many people are dying preventable deaths when we know how to help them. We need less red tape. We need more resources for treatment,” Harris said.

Harris explained how addiction can be prevented, but when prevention fails, treatment works.

“We have to make sure everyone who wants treatment for substance use disorder has access to treatment,” Harris said.

Dr. Sterling Ransone, who practices family medicine in Deltaville, Virginia, highlighted efforts across Virginia that are having a positive impact.

“The commonwealth has done a number of things, including the prescription monitoring program. I can go online and see what prescriptions have I written. I get a better idea of how I do in treating my patients' pain,” Ransone said.

Northam said ultimately, the solution to addressing the opioid crises is bringing all disciplines together.