Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Co-Sponsors Mecklenburg Opioid Conference

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — February 13, 2017

Kannapolis, N.C. (February 13, 2017) – Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, along with The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, in partnership with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), Mecklenburg County and Anuvia Prevention is hosting a one-day conference to raise community awareness and to address prevention, treatment and law enforcement response to the rise of heroin and opiate abuse in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. The conference will be held on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 9:00 A.M. EST.

Cardinal Innovations is the nation’s largest specialty health plan, serving more than 850,000 individuals with complex needs including those struggling with substance use disorders. Cardinal Innovations is co-sponsoring the conference to raise awareness and educate the public about this epidemic, which has affected thousands in North Carolina over the last 17 years. The “Charlotte Heroin and Opiate Conference: A Community Response to Heroin and Opiate Issue in Charlotte-Mecklenburg” will address available treatment options and programs for those with heroin or opiate addiction, as well as resources available to prevent addiction. Enforcement issues also will be discussed.

“Working collaboratively with law enforcement, local government officials, providers and communities is critical in addressing the heroin and opiate epidemic in NC,” said Dr. Ranota Hall, Cardinal Innovations’ Chief Medical Officer. “Cardinal Innovations is designing its substance use disorder continuum inclusive of a long-term opioid strategy that leverages clinical initiatives, community stakeholders such as jail diversion programs and long-term community supports to help improve outcomes for our members with substance use disorders.”

U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose will deliver opening remarks for the event along with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg and Deputy Chief Doug Gallant with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “The heroin and opiate epidemic requires a coordinated response between law enforcement and our community partners. We appreciate Cardinal Innovations’ involvement in this initiative and we are looking forward to working with them to continue to develop long-lasting, impactful solutions to this public health crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose.

Jennifer Love Pennell, Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Care Coordination with Cardinal Innovations, will also speak at the conference. Pennell, a National Certified Counselor and a Person-Centered Thinking trainer with over 15 years of experience, has worked in a variety of settings within the mental health field including correctional healthcare. During her seven years working with correctional facilities, Pennell worked with juveniles and adults in the Mecklenburg County jail system, providing clinical assessments to determine needs and then developing transition plans for inmates who would need mental health and substance use services upon re-entry to the community. Pennell also has developed a mental health program for a juvenile detention facility.

Other topics to be covered include: drug trafficking and the trade of heroin and opiates including where they are
produced; law enforcement’s response; the physiological response to heroin; properties of heroin that make it
addictive; and prevention and treatment options.

The conference is free, but registration is encouraged. For more information or to register, visit


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