Ohio University has announced that it will partner with multiple universities across the state as part of a $65.9 million federally-funded study geared toward reducing Ohio’s opioid overdose rate by 40 percent over the next three years.
The new Ohio-based initiative, part of the federal HEALing Communities Study, plans to utilize real-time research to provide a combination of prevention, treatment and recovery programs within 19 Ohio counties, including Athens County.
Tracy Plouck, an executive in residence within the College of Health Sciences and Professions and a population health expert for The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health (OAIPH), said that the initiative will provide a collaborative outlet that will improve the state’s ability to curb opioid abuse at a community level.
“This coordinated, collective approach will enable us to form evidence-based approaches geared toward positively impacting the Ohio communities that have been most affected by opioid abuse,” said Plouck, who is also OHIO’s lead individual for the grant. “I’m excited to work with our academic, state and community partners to leverage our expertise in a way that will encourage addiction treatment and save lives.”
According to a recent study by the OAIPH, more than 500,000 years of life expectancy were lost in Ohio during a seven-year period. Approximately 13,059 Ohioans died from opioid overdose during the seven-year period of the OAIPH study (2010-2016).
Joining OHIO as part of the consortium is Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Toledo and Wright State University — and leaders from state agencies and community organizations.
In addition to Athens County, the initiative will focus on a cross-section of urban and rural communities within 18 other counties, including: Allen, Ashtabula, Brown, Cuyahoga, Darke, Franklin, Guernsey, Greene, Hamilton, Huron, Jefferson, Lucas, Morrow, Ross, Scioto, Stark, Williams and Wyandot.