Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week, Ohio’s (and Scioto County’s) participation in a new $65.9 million study aimed at reducing the overdose death rate by 40 percent over three years.
The HEALing Communities Study is being funded through a partnership initiative by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“By participating in the HEALing Communities Study, Ohio can expand its efforts to address the substance use crisis that is taking a toll on families across the state in a comprehensive, collaborative way,” DeWine said. “The study joins my RecoveryOhio initiative with several of our state’s universities to improve and evaluate our state’s community-level infrastructure with the goal of reducing overdose deaths, encouraging treatment and supporting recovery for all Ohioans.”
Working in collaboration with state and local agencies, The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati are leading a coalition of universities including Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo, and Wright State University, along with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, to test proven prevention and treatment interventions.
Ohio is one of five states, hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, that are participating in this study. Including Scioto County, a total of nineteen counties were selected at random to participate, including: Allen, Ashtabula, Athens, Brown, Cuyahoga, Darke, Franklin, Guernsey, Greene, Hamilton, Huron, Jefferson, Lucas, Morrow, Ross, Stark, Williams and Wyandot.
In an attempt to address the mental health and substance abuse crisis in Ohio, DeWine created the RecoveryOhio initiative aimed at coordinating and improving prevention efforts, increasing access to treatment and supporting proven recovery methods in the state. The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council recently released their initial report that provides 75 actionable recommendations to better address the public health crisis in Ohio.
The RecoveryOhio Council has local representation including Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware. Their initial report, released in mid-March, includes, among others, the following recommendations, according to a state website:
•Establish statewide prevention coordination with all state departments and agencies to ensure best practices, consistent messaging, technical assistance and delivery of prevention services across multiple domains.
•Commission a statewide campaign to address stigma against people with mental illness and substance use disorders.
•Ensure each patient’s needs and treatment recommendations are determined by a qualified clinical professional and promote insurance coverage of medically-necessary services identified by quality clinical care providers.
•Review and create a comprehensive plan for safe, affordable, and quality housing meeting the needs of individuals with mental health and substance use disorders and including supported housing options, transitional housing, recovery housing, adult care facilities and short-term stabilization options.