Archbold – Northwest State Community College (NSCC) and Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers (CHWC) recently hosted a series of educational initiatives addressing the opioid crisis affecting northwest Ohio. The initiatives, made possible through the generous support of the Eugenio Madero Family Medical Education Fund at Harvard Medical School, included a film screening of the award-winning documentary “The Providers”; a continuing education course for health care providers and delivered by Harvard Medical School faculty on key aspects of treating opioid addiction; and a community town forum.
LESSONS LEARNED, LESSONS SHARED
Starting with a Friday evening film screening of “The Providers” and an engaging Q&A session that immediately followed, specific action items were presented by the doctors featured in the program. Once the continuing education session and community town forum events had concluded, approximately 15 items had been suggested through the esteemed 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.
WORKING TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Dr. Michael Thomson, NSCC President, summarized the group’s findings: “The message from our Northwest Ohio stakeholders is clear. Opioid addiction and related substance use disorders (SUDs) are very difficult to combat and need a full continuum of care that addresses the primary addiction and related co-issues. Second, the problem is complicated and requires many partners working together including governmental entities, medical / treatment teams, and our faith-based partners.
Third, we need to build more capacity to stem this crisis, especially using evidence based best practices that demonstrate good results. Fourth, our overall strategy must include youth programs as a focal point of long-term prevention. Finally, we need accurate public information 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.”
A NATIONAL AND LOCAL EPIDEMIC
More than 2.5 million Americans are struggling 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. Every county in Ohio and every city, town and village — urban and rural — is affected. The human toll, the increased crime and the economic and societal damages caused by this epidemic are devastating.