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Program covers ‘fourth wave’ of U.S. opioid crisis, covering evolving public health impact of adulterants in illicit drugs.

MALVERN Pa., (February 27, 2024) — As the opioid and addiction epidemic has worsened and evolved nationwide, a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders “from federal to family” will convene in April for the Rx and Illicit Drug Summit, the leading annual meeting addressing prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Organized by the leading healthcare events and education company HMP Global, the 13th annual Rx Summit will be held April 1-4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The educational program navigates the “fourth wave” of this crisis, addressing the growing public health impact of adulterants in illicit drugs, including up-to-date trends and research.

“Well over 1 million lives have been lost since the start of the opioid epidemic, and we have seen this crisis evolve from prescription drug misuse to an explosion of synthetic fentanyl to opioids adulterated with xylazine,” said Doug Edwards, Senior Vice President, HMP Education. “It is immensely challenging for communities across the U.S. to prevent the spread of illicit drugs and provide treatment for those recovering from addiction. Rx Summit is the forum to study these trends and collaborate to bring about positive change.”

Rx Summit is the leading national collaboration of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, treatment providers, and allied communities impacted by prescription drug misuse and illicit drug use. It is the leading event for decision-makers and allied professionals working to address this public health emergency.

Featured sessions include:

  • “Nine Years of Social Media Analysis Prevents Overdoses in the Fourth Wave of the Illicit Drug Crisis in America”
    4:15 – 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2
    Drawing from a dataset of approximately 5 billion tweets from college-centric locations, researchers scrutinized drug-related hotspots and discourse. Findings emphasize the need for a multifaceted prevention strategy to mitigate the devastating impact of psychotropic adulterated pills on public health.

  • “It’s Not Just Fentanyl: The Toxic Adulterant Perspective”
    1-2:25 p.m. Monday, April 1
    In recent years, a wide variety of substances have been identified in the illicit drug supply, including the veterinary drug xylazine, medetomidine, dipyrone, levamisole, acetaminophen, phenylbutazone, and gabapentin. The presence of these drugs has multiple implications for patient safety, harm reduction, determination of cause of death, drug scheduling, and educating people who use drugs.

  • “Taking on Evolving and Emerging Drug Threats: Xylazine and Methamphetamine” 12:45 – 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 3
    The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) assesses evolving and emerging drug threats. Veterinary drug xylazine combined with fentanyl, as well as potent methamphetamine from Mexican cartels, are causing a record level of fatal drug overdoses (alone and when mixed with fentanyl).

  • “Psychedelics 101: Considerations for State Policymakers and Healthcare Providers”
    4:15 – 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3
    Research has been done on psychedelics as possible treatments for substance use disorder (SUD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. This session will cover the status of this research, an overview of state laws, potential regulatory models for personal use, and information on psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies.

Notable speakers in past years have included President Joe Biden, President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, President Barack Obama, and President Bill Clinton. More than 3,000 decision-makers, allied professionals, and industry supporters representing all 50 states attend Rx Summit.

The expansive Exhibit Hall will include a mobile treatment unit bus, a tiny home installation, demonstrating a solution for unhoused individuals, an art installation in cooperation with Brevard (Fla.) Prevention Coalition, vending machines for harm reduction supplies, and the Operation UNITE On The Move trailer.

Through the Hope Ambassador program, Rx Summit spotlights individuals in recovery and those who have played pivotal roles in supporting recovery journeys. During the conference, Hope Ambassadors will be available to share their stories at the Rx Summit booth in the Exhibit Hall, and participants may also view narratives of these stories throughout the hall.

Participants and attendees include counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists, and interventionists; physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, and pharmacists, and dentists; advocates, families, and people in recovery; law enforcement and other first responders; and public health and prevention professionals.

For more information or to register, visit


About HMP Global
HMP Global is the force behind Healthcare Made Practical and is an omnichannel leader in healthcare events, education, and market insights — with a mission to improve patient care. The company produces in-person and virtual accredited medical education events and clinically relevant, evidence-based content for the global healthcare community across a range of therapeutic areas. Its brands include the HMP Global Learning Network, healthcare's most comprehensive source for news and information; Drug Channels Institute (DCI), the pharmaceutical industry’s preferred resource for drug market analysis; mental health education through the Neuroscience Education Institute and Psych Congress national, regional and global events; the Leipzig Interventional Course (LINC), the leading, global gathering for interdisciplinary cardiovascular specialists; EMS World Expo, North America’s largest EMT and paramedic event; and the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC), the largest wound care meeting in the world. For more information, visit