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Opioid Policy Fellows 2022

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The Opioid Policy Fellows program is designed to support legislators who are experienced or emerging leaders on opioid addiction and overdose issues. This meeting will introduce Fellows to the year-long program and will build learning in a peer setting. The meeting goals include:

  • Build knowledge about new research, policy and innovations.
  • Exchange ideas and solutions with other legislative leaders related to opioid misuse and overdose, and related issues.
  • Connect with leading researchers and policy experts.
  • Identify practical information to use in your state and develop action steps.

Meet the Fellows

  • Aaron Pilkington, State Representative, Arkansas
  • Adam Bowling, State Representative, Kentucky
  • Amy Regier, State Representative, Montana
  • Brandon Potter, State Representative, Rhode Island
  • Carl Glimm, State Senator, Montana
  • Deb Conroy, State Representative, Illinios
  • Derek Lewis, State Representative, Kentucky
  • Jarrett Keohokalole, State Senator, Hawaii
  • Joyce Krawiec, State Senator, North Carolina
  • Kimberly Moser, State Representative, Kentucky
  • Kristin Bahner, State Representative, Minnesota
  • Larry Bagley, State Representative, Louisiana
  • Laura Fine, State Senator, Illinois
  • Lauren Davis, State Representative, Washington
  • Leonela Felix, State Representative, Rhode Island
  • Liz Snyder, State Representative, Alaska
  • Melissa Murray, State Senator, Rhode Island
  • Melissa Wintrow, State Senator, Idaho
  • Scott Wiener, State Representative, California
  • Stacelynn Eli, State Representative, Hawaii
  • Strom Peterson, State Representative, Washington
  • Whitney Westerfield, State Senator, Kentucky

Kickoff Meeting

Virtual Meeting: Opioid Policy Fellows Kickoff

Jan. 21
11 a.m.-Noon

Welcome and Introductions

This session will welcome the 2022 class of Opioid Policy Fellows with an overview of the program and introductions of the Fellows.

Speakers: Kate Blackman, NCSL
Tammy Jo Hill, NCSL
Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL

Noon-1 p.m.

From Then to Now: An Overview of the Opioid Epidemic

This session will provide an overview of the history and the current state of the opioid epidemic and the impacts of COVID-19 on prevention, treatment, recovery and overdose prevention.

Moderator: Tahra Johnson, NCSL

Dr. Bryce Pardo, Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation | Powerpoint | PDF file-24 pages
Dr. Jaime Mells, Overdose Data to Action Coordinator, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1-1:15 p.m. Break
1:15-2 p.m.

Innovations in Connecting to Care

This session will provide participants with an overview of the traditional ways people have accessed care for a substance use disorder as well as the role telehealth and other innovative connections to care have played since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moderator: Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL

Sherrie Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Global Partnership for Telehealth | Powerpoint | PDF file-12 pages

2-2:15 p.m. Introduction to Action Planning
2:15-2:50 p.m.

Primer on Medicaid and SUD Treatment

Participants will learn about their states’ Medicaid programs and how states have leveraged their Medicaid program to engage individuals with a substance use disorder into treatment.

Moderator: Tammy Jo Hill, NCSL

Emily Blanford, NCSL | Powerpoint | PDF file-11 pages

2:50-3 p.m. Reflections and Wrap Up

Jan. 22

11-11:05 a.m.


Program staff will welcome Fellows to the second day of programming and the join sessions as well as provide an overview of the agenda.

11:05-11:45 a.m.

Joint Session with Maternal and Child Health Fellows: Suicide Prevention

The Opioid Policy Fellows and Maternal and Child Health Fellows will learn about the rise in deaths by suicide since 1999. Fellows will learn about suicide prevention efforts broadly.

Moderator: Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL

John Draper, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline | Powerpoint | PDF file-26 pages

Legislative Respondents:
Senator Joan Ballweg, Wisconsin
Senator Laura Fine, Illinois

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Joint Session with Maternal and Child Health Fellows: Adverse Childhood Experiences

The Opioid Policy Fellows and Maternal and Child Health Fellows will learn about and discuss Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how these early experiences intersect with the issues and populations of focus for the Fellows programs. The session will provide the opportunity for discussing solutions and sharing state strategies.

Moderator: Gabrielle Scarlett, NCSL

Kelly Crane, State Policy Specialist, Prevent Child Abuse America
Claire Louge, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse America Arizona

Legislative Respondents:
Representative Kimberly Rice, New Hampshire
Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Rhode Island

12:30 -12:45 p.m. Joint Networking
12:45-1:05 p.m. Break
1:05-1:50 p.m.

Brain Science of Addiction

The speaker will discuss the science behind addiction and participants will have the opportunity to explore the implications for policymakers.

Moderator: Tammy Jo Hill, NCSL

Dr. M. Foster Olive, Professor and Area Head for Behavioral Neuroscience, Arizona State University | Powerpoint | PDF file-20 pages

1:50-2:05 p.m. Final Action Planning and Evaluations
2:05-2:45 p.m.

Closing Keynote

Recovery from substance use disorders is possible and states have taken many steps to support those in recovery. After a long weekend discussing the many challenges states face to confront this epidemic, this keynote will highlight personal stories of resilience, hope and courage.

Moderator: Karmen Hanson, NCSL

Vic Vela, Colorado Public Radio News

2:45-3 p.m. Wrap Up and Next Steps

Second Meeting

Policy Solutions and Innovations

June 4
8 a.m.


8:45-9 a.m.


9-9:15 a.m.

Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL
Tammy Jo Hill, NCSL
Kate Blackman, NCSL

9:15-10 a.m.

Fellows Report out
This session will provide an opportunity for Fellows to share their challenges and successes since the last meeting. Fellows will provide updates on their action plans and share new developments, policies and programs in their states.


Non-Traditional Partners: Criminal Justice and Exploring the Sequential Intercept Model
This session will focus on collaboration between health and justice system actors at various levels of government to improve outcomes for individuals, focusing on the sequential intercept model. The Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) details how individuals with mental and substance use disorders come into contact with and move through the criminal justice system. Speakers will provide an overview of the model and share an example from Nebraska.

Moderator: Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL
Speakers: Travis Parker, Program Area Director, Policy Research Associates Inc. | Powerpoint | PDF file-98 pages
Kasey Parker, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Nebraska

Noon-12:15 p.m. Break- Transition to Lunch Session
12:15-1:30 p.m.

Lunch with the Maternal and Child Health Fellows: Access to Care and Treatment for Pregnant Women in Correctional Settings
This session will introduce Fellows to current policy trends regarding care and treatment options for pregnant women in correctional settings.
Topics covered will include the prevalence of mental and behavioral health rates and medication for opioid use disorders.

Moderator: Tahra Johnson, NCSL
Speakers: Kate Bryan, policy analyst, NCSL Criminal and Civil Justice Program | Powerpoint | PDF file-20 pages
Senator Whitney Westerfield, Kentucky

1:30-2 p.m. Optional Fitness Break Led by NCSL Staff
2-2:45 p.m.

Understanding Fentanyl and Combatting Overdose
Speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will highlight federal efforts to partner public health and public safety systems. Speakers will also focus on recent omnibus legislation passed in Colorado to specifically address the role of fentanyl in ongoing overdose deaths.

Moderator: Tammy Hill, NCSL
Speakers: Jordan Crummett, Training & Technical Assistance Coordinator, Overdose Response Strategy, CDC Foundation | Powerpoint | PDF file-24 pages
Representative Mike Weissman, Colorado | Powerpoint | PDF file-11 pages

2:45-3:30 p.m.

Opioids in the Courtroom
This session will provide an overview of the ongoing opioid litigation across the 50 states. The session will pay particular attention to how settlements may be determined, money allocated and the role of state legislatures in this process.

Moderator: Karmen Hanson, NCSL
Speakers: Heidi Williams, director of opioid response, Colorado Attorney General’s Office | Powerpoint | PDF file-20 pages

3:30-3:45 p.m. Action Planning
3:45-4 p.m. Break - Transition
4-4:45 p.m.

Joint Session with Maternal and Child Health Fellows: Using Data Metrics to Understand Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
This session will highlight newly developed metrics for opioid use disorder treatment at the local level. Fellows will have an opportunity to engage with speakers on the development and use of these metrics as it relates to policy considerations for increasing access to treatment and continuity of care.

Moderator: Kate Blackman, NCSL
Speakers: Jane Koppelman, senior officer substance use prevention and treatment, The Pew Charitable Trusts | Powerpoint | PDF file-25 pages

5-7 p.m. Reception and Dinner
Sunday, June 5
8 a.m.

Fellows will have breakfast on their own prior to the start of the meeting.

9-9:15 a.m.

Welcome and Overview of the Day

9:15-10:45 a.m.

On the Continuum of Care: Recovery Housing
This session will focus on state policies and programs designed to facilitate treatment, recovery and long-term supports, paying particular attention to the role of recovery housing in the process. Speakers will cover various issues related to housing, including payment models.

Moderator: Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL
Speakers: Dave Sheridan, executive director, National Alliance for Recovery Residences | Powerpoint | PDF file-29 pages
Aaron Williams, senior advisor, National Council for Mental Wellbeing | Powerpoint | PDF file-25 pages

10:45-11 a.m. Action Planning
11-11:15 a.m. Break/Check Out

Wrap Up, Reflection and Graduation
Fellows will have a final opportunity to share ideas and key takeaways from the meeting as well as to connect with their colleagues. NCSL will present Fellows with their graduation certificates, conduct evaluations, collect action plans and take a group photo!

Noon-12:15 p.m. Break/Transition
12:15-1:30 p.m.

Joint Lunch with Maternal and Child Health Fellows
Opioid Policy Fellows will join the Maternal and Child Health Fellows for lunch and engage in discussions around intersecting topics, including maternal substance use disorder, neonatal abstinence syndrome, suicide prevention and adverse childhood experiences.

1:30 p.m. Adjourn
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