On Thursday, October 19th, I had the privilege of presenting at the Ohio Economic Development Association conference to several hundred Ohio economic development professionals on the effect of opiate addiction on communities.
The panel consisted of federal perspectives, the community level impact, and employer issues in dealing with heroin addiction. It was a great panel and I’d like to thank OEDA for asking me to speak on the topic. At the community level, we talked about the impact addiction has on our first responders and what addiction is doing to the ability of communities to field a workforce for local businesses.
As I got back, the latest issue of Public Management magazine was waiting for me. I read whatever I can to see what the best practices are in all areas, and the second article in this issue was entitled “Opiate Addiction – A multidisciplinary Approach.” It’s nice to know that even with problem areas, you are working with the best practices available.
The article suggested creating a coalition of community leaders to take action on multiple fronts including community education, Hospital ED policies, diversion through court practices, harm reduction while the addict is still using, and providing additional treatment and post treatment alternatives. I’m proud of our Heroin Summit coalition, our partnership with Atrium Medical Center, and the hard week that we’ve been completing for the past two years. We are ahead of the curve compared to many Ohio communities in our recognition of this problem and on the steps taken to actively combat addiction.
Our efforts are paying off. Over the past six months we have seen reducing numbers of overdoses and deaths. For the past six months, here are our EMS runs:
Month Fatal OD Non-Fatal OD Total
April 12 139 151
May 11 107 118
June 8 113 121
July 4 73 77
August 2 68 70
September 1 31 32
Is it a trend? We hope so.