Jefferson County will take part in drug study

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday announced Ohio’s participation in a $65.9 million study aimed at reducing the overdose death rate by 40 percent within three years.

Jefferson County will be participating in the study.

The HEALing Communities Study is being funded through a partnership initiative by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“By participating in the HEALing Communities Study, Ohio can expand its efforts to address the substance use crisis that is taking a toll on families across the state in a comprehensive, collaborative way,” DeWine said. “The study joins my RecoveryOhio initiative with several of our state’s universities to improve and evaluate our state’s community-level infrastructure with the goal of reducing overdose deaths, encouraging treatment and supporting recovery for all Ohioans.”

Working in collaboration with state and local agencies, Ohio State University and University of Cincinnati are leading a coalition of universities including Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo and Wright State University, along with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, to test proven prevention and treatment interventions.

Ohio is one of five states that have been hardest-hit by the opioid epidemic and are participating in the study. Nineteen counties were selected at random to participate, including Allen, Ashtabula, Athens, Brown, Cuyahoga, Darke, Franklin, Guernsey, Greene, Hamilton, Huron, Jefferson, Lucas, Morrow, Ross, Scioto, Stark, Williams and Wyandot.

To address the mental health and substance use public health crisis in Ohio, DeWine said he created the RecoveryOhio initiative to coordinate and improve prevention efforts, increase access to treatment, and support proven recovery supports in the state. The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council recently released their initial report that provides 75 actionable recommendations to better address the public health crisis in Ohio.