Cooley to host conference on opioid epidemic as public health emergency Feb. 15 in Lansing

In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump discussed the devastating impact of opioid addiction in the United States. The opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency in October 2017, a designation the president renewed on Jan. 23. In response to the urgency of the addiction crisis, WMU-Cooley Law School will present “The Opioid Epidemic: Finding Solutions to a Public Health Emergency” at the law school’s Lansing campus on Feb. 15 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
 
During this free, half-day conference, attendees will learn what federal, state, and local governments are doing about the crisis, and how the epidemic is impacting communities, including the legal community. The event will feature an expert panel discussing various addiction-related issues, including health implications, legal concerns, overcoming addiction, and the effects of addiction. Panelists include: 

• Hon. Linda Davis: 41B District Court judge, chair of Governor Snyder’s Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission, president of Families Against Narcotics

• Kristen Lee: graduate of Eastern Michigan University and the University of Toledo College of Law, and a person who is in long-term recovery from opioid use disorder

• Ashton Marr: program manager of the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project at Home of New Vision, Certified Peer Recovery Mentor, and a person who is in long-term recovery from opioid use disorder

• Brandy McMillion: Assistant U.S. Attorney specializing in opioid fraud abuse and detection

• Lauren Rousseau: WMU-Cooley law professor and president of the Northwest Wayne Chapter of Families Against Narcotics

• Tish Vincent: director of the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program of the State Bar of Michigan

Davis is the founder and president of Families Against Narcotics, which has 20 chapters in Michigan with another launching soon in North Carolina. The nonprofit organization provides education, resources and support to individuals and families impacted by addiction. It also operates a program called “Hope Not Handcuffs,” which partners with police departments and volunteers to assist addicts seeking recovery into treatment. Since “Hope Not Handcuffs” first launched in Macomb County in February 2017, over 850 individuals struggling with addiction have been connected with treatment through the program.

McMillion is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She is a part of the office’s Health Care Fraud Unit but has also been designated by the United States Attorney General as one of 12 prosecutors across the country dedicated to prosecuting medical professionals contributing to the opioid crisis. In her role as the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection AUSA, McMillion prosecutes doctors and pharmacies that are unlawfully prescribing and dispensing opioids. 

Rousseau has been a faculty member with WMU-Cooley Law School since 2004 and is chair of the school’s Civil Procedure and Evidence & Practice Skills Department. She is the president of the Northwest Wayne Chapter of Families Against Narcotics, and also serves on the boards of directors of Home of New Vision, an addiction treatment nonprofit corporation in Washtenaw County, and  Access to Bankruptcy Court, a nonprofit corporation providing pro bono bankruptcy services to indigent clients. Rousseau is a strong advocate and frequent speaker on the very personal and painful topic of addiction. During the conference, she will share how heartbreak has motivated her to tackle the opioid epidemic and addiction on many fronts.

Vincent is a graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law, and earned a master’s degree from the Michigan State University School of Social Science. She is a licensed therapist and attorney in the state of Michigan and holds her Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification. She is a commissioner on the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (CoLAP). She presents frequently on issues of lawyer wellness, stress management and risks attorneys face when their own wellness is neglected.

Marr is the program manager for the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project (WRAP) at Home of New Vision, an addiction treatment agency in Ann Arbor.  She is also a Certified Peer Recovery Mentor and a person in long-term recovery from opioid use disorder. Before working with WRAP, she was an outreach worker with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, helping to connect those with struggling with addiction to community resources.
Lee is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and the University of Toledo Law School. She is preparing to sit for the Michigan bar exam in July, and is in long-term recovery from opioid use disorder. She entered a methadone program while pregnant with her second child in 2007. Lee has continued with methadone maintenance, which has helped her graduate from college, raise her children, and graduate from law school at the University of Toledo College Of Law. Lee will be nine years sober in June of 2018. 

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