Case Western Reserve Joins Consortium to Reduce Opioid Deaths
Case Western Reserve University has agreed to participate in a new consortium that will address the opioid epidemic in the state of Ohio.
With academics, state and community partners and nine faculty researchers on board, the consortium has received a grant of $65.9 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent over the next three years.
The group will aim to reduce opioid overdose deaths in 19 highly affected counties throughout the state by using data-driven approaches that combine multi-pronged, evidence-based interventions within health care, behavioral health, justice systems, and communities.
According to the university, in 2017, Ohio ranked second worst in the nation for opioid overdoses, exhibiting a death rate of 47.9 per 100,000 people.
Through its Optimizing Healing in Ohio Communities (OHiO) initiative, which is part of the NIH HEALing Communities Study, Ohio State University is already focusing on prevention, treatment and recovery programs in the state.
Vice-dean for translational research at Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine, Michael Konstan, will lead the group’s efforts in Northern Ohio counties like Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Huron, Lucas, Stark and Williams, that reported 44 percent of opioid overdose deaths in 2017. Ohio State University will lead similar efforts in Central and Southeast Ohio, and the University of Cincinnati will lead in Southwest Ohio.
Lately, various federal agencies, including social media companies, have involved higher educational institutes to counter the use of opioids. Last week, Columbia University received $86 million from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on ways to reduce opioid-related deaths across New York state.
In 2018, the University of Alabama in Birmingham partnered with a new coalition of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, led by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, to fight the opioid crisis by countering online tactics used to promote and sell drugs.