Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
On April 18, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that Ohio will play a key role in a four–year, $350 million study that aims to reduce opioid deaths by 40% over three years (Source: “Ohio State to Lead $65.9 Million State Study to Help Reduce Opioid Deaths,” The Columbus Dispatch, April 18, 2019).
A consortium of Ohio colleges and communities led by The Ohio State University (OSU) is undertaking a sweeping effort to study how best to reduce opioid deaths in the state. OSU and its partners will receive a $65.9 million federal research grant for part of the project, with the first installment totaling $13 million.
Kentucky, New York, and Massachusetts will also receive federal grants through what the federal government calls the HEALing Communities Study. By selecting Ohio, the Trump administration picked an epicenter in the epidemic. In 2017, 4,293 Ohioans died from opioid-related overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only West Virginia had a higher rate of deaths per 100,000 people.
The Ohio study will focus on 19 Ohio counties: Allen, Ashtabula, Athens, Brown, Cuyahoga, Darke, Franklin, Guernsey, Greene, Hamilton, Huron, Jefferson, Lucas, Morrow, Ross, Scioto, Stark, Williams, and Wyandot. The Ohio consortium will bring together experts from six universities, OSU, the University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo, and Wright State University, as well as leaders from state agencies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and other community organizations. Governor Mike DeWine’s administration is also participating.