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Opioid crisis focus of health care summit and coding competition

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Software developers, health care professionals, students, and entrepreneurs will delve into a national opioid epidemic during CajunCodeFest 6.0, a health care summit and “code-a-thon” competition.

CajunCodeFest 6.0 will be held April 13-14 at two centers in University Research Park at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The health care summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13, at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise Center, 537 Cajundome Blvd. The free summit is open to the public. Registration is encouraged.

It will feature leaders from health care, higher education, law enforcement, industry and state and local government. They will give talks, presentations and conduct a roundtable session that will focus on opioid addiction, prevention, treatment and recovery.

Health care summit speakers will include:

  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana;
  • Dr. Carrie Castille, rural development state director, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development;
  • Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals;
  • Bruce Greenstein, chief technology officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and
  • U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Louisiana.


Opioids can include prescribed medications such as hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone that are often used to treat pain. Heroin, an illegal drug, is also an opioid.

According to statistics the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released late last year, opioids contributed to about 66 percent of the more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016.

During the coding contest, about 120 competitors on teams of up to six members will build tools designed to combat the opioid epidemic. They will create software or apps that address addiction and treatment. Registration for the contest has ended.

The code-a-thon will begin at noon on Friday, April 13, at the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning, 200 E. Devalcourt St. It will end the same time the next day. An awards ceremony will follow. Winners in several categories will earn cash and prizes.

In its sixth year, CajunCodeFest is coordinated by UL Lafayette’s Center for Business and Information Technologies.

CBIT research and development focuses on technology-driven innovations in areas such as health care, education, industry and workforce development.

Each year, a different health-related theme is the focus of the event. Past themes have included diabetes, aging and obesity.

Learn more about the event, speakers or register for the summit at www.cajuncodefest.org

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