Wright State University will team up with experts from five other universities – including Ohio State – to join a federal effort aimed at reducing opioid deaths by 40 percent over the next three years.

Wright State University joins federal effort aimed at reducing opioid deaths

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar II Thursday announced that Ohio State will receive a $65.9 million federal research grant as part of more than $350 million for a larger study aimed at reducing opioid deaths.

Ohio State will lead a consortium in the state including WSU that will use real-time research to target prevention, treatment and recovery programs. The Ohio study will focus on 19 Ohio counties including Greene and Darke counties. Other counties in the state include: Allen, Ashtabula, Athens, Brown, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Guernsey, Hamilton, Huron, Jefferson, Lucas, Morrow, Ross, Scioto, Stark, Williams and Wyandot.

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The Ohio consortium will bring together experts from six universities — Ohio State, University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, University of Toledo and Wright State — as well as leaders from state agencies and community organizations. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration is also part of the research consortium.

In a statement, DeWine said the study will allow Ohio to “expand its efforts to address the substance use crisis that is taking a toll on families across the state in a comprehensive, collaborative way.” His administration in January launched the RecoveryOhio initiative which aims to to improve prevention, treatment and recovery support efforts that address mental health and substance use.

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Ohio State President Michael Drake attended the HHS ceremony announcing the grants. He said the Ohio study aims to find the best solutions to the opioid crisis and scale them up quickly in order to help as many people as quickly as possible.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to end this public health crisis in our state and, through our example, beyond,” he said.

The study is funded and supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In 2017, 4,293 Ohioans died from opioid-related overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – 39.2 opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 people, a rate that is second only to West Virginia.

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