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Case Western Reserve University awarded $6 million to help aid Ohio's opioid epidemic

According to recent data from the CDC, Ohio ranked as the nation's fourth-highest state in terms of unintentional drug-overdoses.

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University was awarded a three-year, $6 million grant to help aid Ohio's growing Opioid epidemic.

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According to recent data from the CDC, Ohio ranked as the nation's fourth-highest state in terms of unintentional drug-overdoses, causing swift action to be taken to help combat this trend.

Money for the grant will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Case Western's Center for Evidence-Based Practices (CEBP) will also assist in partnership with the administration above.

CEBP director Ric Kruszynski will lead what is being described as "the adoption, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based and best practices and policies related to substance-use disorders". He released a statement on the vision for what this grant will be able to accomplish below.

“Most of CEBP’s work will focus on training and helping the state’s vast network of addiction-care providers learn and adopt best practices so they become routine services,” he said. “There is an expansive network of treatment for substance use disorders in Ohio. It’s no secret that many of these organizations experience an array of challenges when it comes to adopting best-known practices. We not only want evidence based and other best practices everywhere, we want to ensure that the technical assistance necessary for that to occur is available to any Ohio program who can benefit from that.”

According to data released by the CDC, Ohio saw 45.6 unintentional drug overdoses per 100,000 residents in 2020. The Ohio Department of Health also says that in that same time frame, 86% of overdose deaths in Ohio involved opioids, with 81% of those deaths including fentanyl.

“Every community has been impacted by the disease of addiction. Under Governor DeWine and his RecoveryOhio Initiative, we are focused every day on making treatment available to all Ohioans in need,” said Aimee Shadwick, director of Gov. Mike DeWine’s RecoveryOhio initiative. “The treatment that is delivered in all our communities should be high-quality treatment based on evidence-based practices. The Substance Use Center of Excellence will help our treatment providers continue to transform their addiction care and help people along their treatment and recovery journey.”

The grant will also help strengthen Ohio's network of alcohol, drug addiction and mental health boards, psychiatric hospitals and treatment and recovery agencies.

“Under Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s leadership, we are committed to making substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery support services more visible, accessible and effective,” said Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Lori Criss. “At the same time, we are focused on growing Ohio’s behavioral health workforce to meet the increasing demand for services and equipping them with the skills and tools needed to help every Ohioan find a pathway to recovery and optimal wellness. I’m confident this new partnership with Case Western Reserve University will help us achieve both objectives and better meet the needs of Ohioans impacted by substance use disorders.”

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