Opioid Initiatives


The College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) is committed to bringing the resources of the largest health-focused college in Ohio to bear on the crisis of opioid abuse across the state. 

We are committed to activities that are:

  • Innovative. Rather than applying standard formulae and templates to the problem of opioid abuse, we are committed to finding innovative new best-practice models that are most responsive to local conditions surrounding opioid use and abuse
  • Collaborative. We believe that, while we can do good work on our own, we can do great work with partners from within and beyond the university. A statewide network of partners assures we can bring the greatest possible capacity to bear on the issue of opioid abuse.
  • Community-responsive. Rather than going out and telling communities what they need to do, our approach is to engage communities in ways that show we understand the nature of the issue as they "live" it. Our goal is to develop interventions that are responsive to local realities. This also means that we often facilitate the flow of resources to community partners who may demonstrate best practice models of impact.


The College of Health Sciences and Professions is leading three broad, collaborative efforts:

  • OHIO Alliance for Population Health (OAPH): This alliance represents a statewide collaboration that brings together diverse resources of the many partners to promote detailed, rigorous attention to issues surrounding opioid abuse.
  • Ohio River Valley Addiction Research Consortium: Northern Kentucky University has led the development of this new consortium focusing on addiction research across the Ohio River Valley region. CHSP recently agreed to join Northern Kentucky in the leadership of the development of the consortium. Ohio University will also host the next research conference of the consortium later this spring as a way to showcase opioid abuse research and intervention programming across the region.
  • Appalachian Public Health Collaborative Effort: CHSP reached out to the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) to mutually address a variety of public health issues including opioid abuse throughout the Appalachian region. ETSU is already conducting research in southeast Ohio so this is a logical connection for us as a collaborative partner with strong community connections.

Examples of Community-Embedded Programming

Through the above collaborations and other relationships with local organizations and agencies, the College of Health Sciences and Professions has undertaken a number of community initiatives with the goals of improving local conditions and outcomes while also promoting understanding of best practices in addressing opioid abuse. Some examples of these activities include:

  • Athens HOPE: Athens HOPE is a collaborative task force of agencies throughout Athens County that provide programming related to opioid use and abuse. Members include health care entities, schools, law enforcement agencies, human services agencies, and public health officials. CHSP led the development of the task force and provides leadership for its ongoing operation. This represents the best effort at organizing community-wide opioid abuse response across entities. The taskforce is focused on prevention and education and is working to educate families about the facts surrounding opioid abuse, reduce stigma, provide community activities that support those in recovery, and provide education about emerging trends and best practices to frontline professionals.
  • Perry County Opioid Collaboration: Various entities in Perry County have established the Perry County Drug Prevention Coalition, an organization of entities addressing drug abuse in the County. CHSP recently developed a partnership with the Coalition that will bring additional resources to bear. These include a coordinating director for the Coalition, expertise in developing a sophisticated social media drug prevention campaign, and support for the formation and use of multi-institutional drug care teams to be engaged in cases of drug overdose. Ohio University will rigorously assess the impact of these various interventions through their implementation.
  • Lawrence County Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Intervention: In collaboration with the Marshall University College of Medicine, CHSP will extend support programs for pregnant women who have struggled with opioid abuse. Marshall has implemented the program in Huntington, West Virginia, neighboring Ironton, Ohio, and surrounding areas. This collaboration will allow the two universities to explore program impacts in both communities so as to better inform strategies to reduce Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
  • Community Health Worker/Patient Navigator Project: As part of our new Eglie Patient Communication Initiative, CHSP will embed clinical faculty as community health workers and patient navigators in Athens, Perry, and Washington counties. These individuals will be embedded in community organizations addressing opioid abuse and will spend half their time providing direct community services and the other half preparing students to work as patient navigators and community health workers.
  • Data Analytics Project: A team of researchers affiliated with the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health will undertake a large data analytics project aimed at understanding the etiology of an individual's progression from first opioid use to death from overdose so as to better inform the timing of prevention and treatment interventions.
  • Opioid Technology Challenge: A group of 18 students from across the University were chosen from a pool of more than 130 applicants to create and submit a proposal for the state's Opioid Technology Challenge. The challenge is a three-phase, prize-based competition to find technology-based solutions that address or improve opioid abuse prevention, treatment and overdose avoidance and response.
  • Purple Gala: Bachelor of Science in Nursing students organized the Purple Gala to raise money for Women for Recovery, a residence and assistance agency for women recovering from opioid abuse.