Northwest State Community College and Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers recently hosted a series of educational initiatives addressing the opioid crisis affecting northwest Ohio.
Made possible through support from the Eugenio Madero Family Medical Education Fund at Harvard Medical School, the event included a film screening of the award-winning documentary, “The Providers”; a continuing education course for health care providers delivered by Harvard Medical School faculty on key aspects of treating opioid addiction; and a community town forum.
The film was shown Friday, and was followed with a question and answer session in which specific action items were presented by the doctors featured in the program. After a continuing education session and community town forum event had concluded, approximately 15 items had been suggested through the panelists and audience participation.
State Representatives Craig Riedel, District 82, and Jim Hoops, District 81, as well as a representative from Recovery Ohio were on hand to share the state perspective and collect valuable feedback to take back to their colleagues.
NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson summarized the findings.
“The message from our northwest Ohio stakeholders is clear. Opioid addiction and related substance use disorders are very difficult to combat, and need a full continuum of care that addresses the primary addiction and related co-issues,” he said.
Secondly, Dr. Thomson said, the problem is complicated and requires many partners working together including governmental entities, medical/treatment teams, and faith-based partners. Dr. Thomson also said more capacity must be built stem the opioid crisis, especially using evidence-based best practices that demonstrate good results.
He also noted that an overall strategy must include youth programs as a focal point of long-term prevention, and said accurate public information is needed that removes the stigma of addiction,and counters public misconceptions.
“I am so grateful to the many partners who shared their perspectives. We know that working together, we can make a difference,” Dr. Thomson said.
More than 2.5 million Americans struggle an with addiction to opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Ohio is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths, with, on average, 14 people dying each day.