Thousands of students, teachers, government officials and more to attend LouisvilleKY’s summit on opioid awareness

heroin needle drugs

Mayor Fischer, Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, DEA 360, Jefferson County Public Schools present event promoting healthy choices and a drug-free lifestyle

LOUISVILLE (OCT. 23, 2018) – Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. Marty Pollio, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools, are joining The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and the DEA 360 Campaign to host the first Louisville Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Freedom Hall.

Public health officials refer to the opioid drug epidemic as the worst drug crisis in American history, and Kentucky is among the hardest hit states in the nation. According to the CDC, opioids claimed the lives of 1,404 people in the Bluegrass State in 2016.

The Summit has been specifically designed to address this growing epidemic by promoting healthy choices and educating students about the dangers of opioid abuse. The event will feature presentations by prevention advocates, youth activists and local leaders, including Chris Mack, men’s basketball coach at the University of Louisville, and performances by Linkin’ Bridge and J.D. Shelburne. More than 10,000 students and teachers are expected to attend.

mark wahlberg foundation

* Christopher Evans, Special Agent In Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Louisville Field Division, will talk about the impact of opioids in our communities and the importance of making positive life choices. There will also be a special focus on how students can help combat this epidemic by engaging in healthy lifestyles and participating in prevention efforts. “One of our main goals for the summit is to engage our youth and get them energized to take action in their schools and be part of the solution to the opioid crisis,” Evans said.

The Louisville Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness, which is billed as the country’s largest gathering of young people to directly address this crisis in our communities, is made possible by the generous support of the DEA 360 Campaign, The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, and community partners like Walmart and WLKY-TV.

“The key goal of the summit is to educate and engage youth to be part of the solution in addressing our country’s worst drug crisis in history,” said James Wahlberg, the foundation’s executive director.

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Several Louisville Metro Government agencies were involved in planning for the event, including LMPD, the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and Public Health and Wellness.

“As our city joins cities across the nation in grappling with the impact of the national opioid crisis, we know it’s key to educate our young people about the dangers and give them options for a hopeful, drug-free lifestyle,” said Mayor Fischer. “We greatly appreciate partners like the The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and DEA 360
Campaign for the work they are doing to help lead this fight.”

Dr. Pollio said: “This summit gives us the opportunity to increase awareness and education around prevention.  We want our students to be empowered to make the best decisions and offer solutions to help end the opioid crisis.  Thousands of our students will take part in this meaningful event where they can see what happens when they use their collective voices to enact change in the community.  We are thankful to our partners for supporting this summit that addresses an issue plaguing
our city.”

The event will run 9 a.m. to noon at Freedom Hall, 937 Phillips Lane.

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