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10TV: Experts say need for more drug treatment centers is massive

Attorney General Mike DeWine recently released a 12-point plan to end the opioid epidemic in Ohio, the No. 1 state in the country for opioid overdose deaths. This recovery plan builds upon the work that Ohio organizations, like OhioHealth, are already doing.

OhioHealth has created a multidisciplinary opioid task force (made up of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, human resources government relations and others) and is working as a system on a variety of initiatives to combat the crisis.

OhioHealth has many programs including participating in one called “Nix Opioids” where an emergency physician presents to high school students and parents on the dangers of drugs.

We are also piloting a program in various emergency departments where overdose patients are sent home with a dose of nasal Naloxone and trained how to use it in the event of another overdose. OhioHealth also has an addiction medicine trained physician as well who works with pregnant women who are using drugs during their pregnancies.

Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, OhioHealth senior vice president and chief medical officer, recognizes that with this epidemic comes a need for more medical specialists who focus on treating these patients.

“The problem is, nationally, there aren’t nearly enough of these specialists in training, so we are going to have to grow our own,” Vanderhoff told 10TV reporter Shelby Croft.

OhioHealth is in talks to potentially develop an addiction medicine fellowship, which will help train more physicians to specifically work with those who battle opioid addictions. Vanderhoff says that hospitals generally treat overdoses then send patients to inpatient facilities. But with lack of inpatient care and long waiting lists for programs, it can be difficult for patients to get in.

”There is unquestionably a very acute need for recovery resources,” Vanderhoff told Croft.

The emergency department is the right place for overdose victims to be during the critical recovery time. However, the ED is not the right place for the patients to be once they are stabilized. OhioHealth’s opioid task force is actively working to bridge that gap to get them to recovery centers.

“We have a role to play in creating the outpatient treatment capabilities,” said Vanderhoff.

Stay tuned to the OhioHealth Newsroom for more on the Naloxone pilot program.

To learn more about what OhioHealth is doing in its emergency departments or to find a location, please click here.