(MT. VERNON, IL) — The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic, and in response an educational conference will address issues surrounding that epidemic at the Mount Vernon Hotel and Event Center next week. The Southern Illinois Interprofessional Opioid Prescription Drug and Heroin Conference will address issues surrounding the opioid prescription drug and heroin epidemic, starting at 8:30 a.m. on June 6 at the Mount Vernon Hotel and Event Center, 222 Potomac Blvd., in Mount Vernon. The day-long conference will provide informative sessions along two tracks: one for health care providers and one for law enforcement and court personnel. Presenters will address topics such as chronic pain management, risk mitigation in prescribing opioids, opioid substance use disorder treatment models, drug courts, diversion tactics and community engagement strategies. Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription pain reliever. More Illinoisans die from opioid drug overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents or all gun-related causes.