Apr 27, 2014

Mobilizing medical warriors to stop heroin

Pathway to safe and positive
Heroin Plan In A Nutshell

In the Greater Cincinnati region, we have most of the infrastructure needed to create a pipeline that enrolls addicts while they are still using drugs, makes their lives safer, and conducts them along a path to safety and rescue from addiction. The next step is to enroll doctors and healthcare institutions, and form a coalition of the willing to wage war on the heroin epidemic that steals lives daily throughout our region.

In the past week, I have spoken with health educators at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Cincinnati Health Department, an administrator at the local Recovery Services Board, the head of a local treatment provider agency, community members concerned about a proposed needle exchange program, anti-drug educators, and dozens of street outreach workers and health communicators participating in our region’s largest and most significant annual urban health outreach event.

I learned that:

We need to recruit dozens of physicians who are each willing to care for 30 addiction medication patients annually.

We need to recruit hospital systems to house and support these physicians.

We need to connect the public drug treatment system (which is funded to supply medication for addiction treatment) with physicians who are funded to provide medical supervision in neighborhood primary care clinics (FQHCs) and other healthcare settings.

We need to connect paramedics and health educators with sources of the first aid drug for overdoses, so this resource becomes available throughout the community the same way automatic defibrillators are available to stop heart attacks.

We need high level leadership – those who are willing to talk outside of their “funding gutters”  and connect up their systems – to meet each other and declare their commitment to stop this epidemic by every means within their power.

Read my earlier post:
Mainstreaming addiction services: How pharmacy clinics can help put an end to the heroin epidemic

Download Heroin Plan In A Nutshell

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