Combating the Opioid Epidemic
As the opioid crisis continues to devastate the nation, in Athens, Ohio, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital and Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions are coming together to help find solutions in their region. In October, the organizations hosted a three-day series of community events featuring a national expert on the crisis, journalist and author Sam Quinones.
Quinones, author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, presented the college’s annual public Grover Lecture, led community discussions and forums in Athens and nearby Nelsonville, Ohio and met with physicians, nurses, community health leaders and others on the front lines of the crisis in the region.
Dreamland, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, chronicles the rise of opioid addiction in the US. It is also the most checked out book of 2017 for the Athens County Public Libraries system, pointing to the community concern growing around the crisis of opioid abuse and addiction.
In advance of Quinones’ visit, O’Bleness Hospital sponsored an initiative with the area library system that distributed hundreds of copies of Dreamland free of charge in the local area. Information about local addiction services and support resources were provided at the public events courtesy of the college and Athens HOPE, a community partnership focused on fighting the opioid epidemic in the Athens area through prevention and education.
OhioHealth and Ohio University hope to catalyze change by focusing the community’s attention on this growing crisis. All told, hundreds of community members participated in one or more of the events hosted as part of the three day series.