The Sound of Ideas Community Tour - Lake County & Opioids
The first stop of the 2018 Sound of Ideas Community Tour took place in March at the Mentor Schools Paradigm Center before a live audience.
We talked about the unrelenting scourge known as the opioid epidemic, where addiction leads to overdose and all kinds of negative ramifications, including record deaths in our state. In truth, we could have gone to almost any community in Ohio to see the impact of the crisis -- the Centers for Disease Control released a report just weeks ago that found a 39% jump in overdose deaths in Ohio from July 2016 to July 2017... . Ohio ranked third behind Pennsylvania and Florida. Nationally, there was a 14.4 percent increase in drug overdose deaths over that period. Do the math: Ohio is nearly three times the national average.
CDC Director Ann Schuchat said of the findings: "We have an emergency on our hands. The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating."
Accelerating? That seems unimaginable. But each month brings more unbearable pain. Accelerating means more of our children, our friends, our neighbors, will die. And more of their families, educators, nonprofits and government agencies will be left to pick up the pieces.
So how are communities combating the crisis? Lake County is setting an example for many other communities by having citizens work together to affect change.
In November, residents voted to increase funding for children's services to support the growing number of kids entering into the custody of the county Job and Family Services Department... the rise has been attributed to this crisis. Also in November, three local agencies launched "Operation Resolve," which provides free education to businesses and schools on how to fight and prevent drug addiction. And the new Quick Response Team program hopes to connect struggling residents to treatment services -- quickly, as the name entails.
How are those efforts working and what more needs to happen? How can we pump the brakes, or better yet slam them, on this accelerating crisis?
We invited folks on the front lines to take part in a conversation, excerpted here for our Ideas TV program.
Kim Fraser, Executive Director of the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board... known as the ADAMHS Board.
Matt Battiato, Director, Lake County Job & Family Services.
Jackie L., who's been in recovery from opioid addiction for about 8 months.