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Medical experts, lawyers and teens to speak at Kennesaw heroin summit

If the national conversation about the ongoing heroin and prescription pill epidemic seems too distant, local experts and youth will discuss the topic in Kennesaw this weekend.

The summit will be at a local YMCA, 1700 Dennis Kemp Lane, that is partnering with the Georgia Prevention Project. The event will be Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Discussion will center around the issue of drug abuse, why it can be so tough to talk about and how it affects teens and families.

In-depth coverage: Heroin hits home

The summit's goal is to get youth leaders — mostly 16 or older and "mature 15-year-olds" — in a room with parents, educators, professionals and law enforcement to talk it out. 

"We hope that attendees will leave with more knowledge of the issue, ways to help those at risk before drug use begins and the passion to continue the conversation going forward so that we can save futures and lives," the event announcement said.

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The keynote speaker will be Sam Olens, outgoing attorney general and new president of Kennesaw State University.

Planned speakers include Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds, Emory physician Dr. Justine Welsh, abuse prevention experts, emergency personnel and "families with first-hand knowledge of this epidemic."

Just days ago the White House re-emphasized its request for $1.1 billion in heroin and opioid treatment funding which President Obama requested in his budget earlier this year.

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