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Report recommends local strategies to address addiction crisis in Appalachian counties


Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio


A new national report on addiction in the nation’s 420 Appalachian counties lays out a series of strategies for local leaders to address the crisis (Source: “Report: Opioid Epidemic in Appalachian Counties Can be Tackled,” Canton Repository, June 13, 2019).

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) released the report, “Opioids in Appalachia: The Role of Counties in Reversing a Regional Epidemic,” in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic that has plagued Ohio and other states in the region.

The report makes five recommendations to Appalachian county leaders. The first suggests having county agencies, community leaders, business leaders, and faith-based organizations create opioid task forces. Other recommendations include creating and strengthening preventive and educational initiatives, and expanding access to addiction treatment. The report also recommends getting county law enforcement to crack down on people selling illegal opioids, and working with physicians and pharmacists to monitor opioid prescriptions and report physicians who are over-prescribing. Finally, the report suggests counties work with businesses to provide economic opportunities for people in recovery.

Health Policy Institute of Ohio’s (HPIO’s) Addiction Evidence Project includes tools to enable Ohio policymakers to take stock of what’s been done, compare it to what the evidence says works best, and determine where there are still gaps in the state’s response to the addiction crisis. Addiction-related data was also included in HPIO’s Health Value Dashboard.

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