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UK Law Students, Faculty and Staff Attend U.S. Attorney General’s Talk on Drug Abuse Crisis

October 7, 2016

Students, faculty and staff from the University of Kentucky College of Law were among those in attendance as United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed the drug abuse crisis during her recent visit to UK campus.

As part of the Department of Justice’s first National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week, Attorney General Lynch made multiple stops in Central Kentucky as an effort to focus attention on the increasing rates of heroin and opioid abuse. According to the Department of Human Health Services, 3.8 million people ages 12 and older are misusing prescription drugs in America, and in 2015, more than 1200 people in Kentucky died of a drug overdose.

“This is a fight that we have to win because this is not a problem that we can live with. This is not a problem that we can tolerate. This is a problem that must be solved,” said Kerry B. Harvey (UK Law ’82), United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, during his welcome remarks. And, according to Attorney General Lynch, this is a problem that will be solved.

But how do Americans solve this problem? During her speech, Attorney General Lynch noted that the main source of these drugs is from medicine cabinets. To work towards stopping drug abuse, she encouraged everyone to lock their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescriptions. And, to raise awareness among parents and students, she spoke about an opioid and heroin awareness curriculum, Operation Prevention, that will be available to schools nationwide for free, beginning next month.

Before ending her keynote address, Attorney General Lynch thanked the university for its support.

“The great work that is being done here in Kentucky is a model that should be replicated around the country. We will be looking to you as an example for other states,” Attorney General Lynch said.

Students, faculty and staff representing UK Law at the invitation-only event included:

  • Richard Ausness, Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Everett H. Metcalf, Jr. Professor of Law
  • Keyana Boka, Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Mary Katherine Brashear, Appalachian Law Caucus
  • David A. Brennen, Dean and Professor of Law
  • Ismaila Ceesay, StreetLaw
  • Allison Connelly, Director of the Legal Clinic and James and Mary Lassiter Professor of Law
  • Amanda Goff Connors, Appalachian Law Caucus
  • Larry Doucet, Student Bar Association (SBA) and StreetLaw
  • Mat Doyle, Law Student Veterans Association
  • Jane Grisé, Director of Academic Success and a Legal Writing Instructor
  • Irvin Henriquez, Member of Latino/a Law Student Association
  • Nicole Huberfeld, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Ashland-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law
  • Micah Johnson, Appalachian Law Caucus
  • Bret Knickerbocker, UK Law Wellness Initiative
  • Mary Ann Lee, Student Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF)
  • Adam Meyer, Student Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF)
  • Daniel P. Murphy, Jr., Assistant Dean of Community Engagement & Diversity
  • Ashley Ritchie, Director of Marketing & Communications
  • John Ritter, StreetLaw
  • Amy Robertson, Student Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF)
  • Matthew Whitley, Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Andrew Williams, Health Law Society
  • Nealy Williams, Black Law Students Association (BLSA)

“Although Attorney General Lynch’s talk was great, what really blew me away was the sheer quantity of professionals, politicians, current leaders, and future leaders in attendance!” exclaimed Bret Knickerbocker, President of the UK Law Wellness Initiative. “There were so many brilliant brains in that room listening to one of nation’s top leaders address one of Kentucky’s most serious problems.”

Immediately following Attorney General Lynch’s speech, the conversation continued with a panel discussion. Members of the panel included Mark Barnard, Chief of Police at Lexington Police Department; Michelle Lofwall, MD, Associate Professor of Behavioral Science and Psychiatry at UK; and Van Ingram, Executive Director at the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. US Attorney Harvey served as moderator. The panel took questions from the audience including those from Dean David A. Brennen, and second-year law student, Knickerbocker.

“I asked a question to the panel of speakers at the end about whether the United States might incorporate some of the successful solutions that European countries are implementing, and afterwards, so many people approached me expressing their concurrence of my opinion,” said Knickerbocker. “These people were the best and brightest of Kentucky. It is very hard to express in words how inspired and hopeful I felt about the future of Kentucky and the United States on this issue after that.”