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May 29, 2019 (Cleveland)

Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium Meets with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams



Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium Meets with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome AdamsOn May 29, The Center for Health Affairs hosted U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams at a meeting of the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium. Dr. Adams, who had a full itinerary during his Cleveland visit, spent the afternoon hearing from Opioid Consortium member hospitals about the work they are doing individually as well as collaboratively to address the opioid epidemic in the region.

In engaging and compelling remarks, Dr. Adams shared his perspective on the crisis facing the nation. He emphasized how crucial it is to lift the stigma associated with substance use disorder and shared a personal story about how addiction has affected a member of his own family.

"It’s painful to share that story,” he said. “But every time I share that story, someone comes up afterwards and shares their story of how their family is struggling and how they have not talked about it before.”

"A big part of what I do is trying to address stigma; sharing stories, tearing down barriers, helping people understand there are bad choices that lead to substance use disorders just like there are bad choices that lead to flare-ups of my asthma. But that doesn’t mean that it’s my choice to have asthma or that it’s someone else’s choice to have substance use disorder,” he said. “It’s a disease. It’s a disease with treatments that are effective if properly applied. It’s a disease that people aren’t going to get treated if they don’t feel like they can come forward without stigma attached with them."

Dr. Adams also emphasized the essential role of naloxone in saving lives and suggested two tangible acts that can be taken immediately:
  • Carry naloxone, and be an advocate; educate others in the community about it.
  • Share the Surgeon General’s digital postcard, which lists five steps everyone can take to prevent opioid misuse.
He offered additional strategies for consideration in Northeast Ohio and across the country, including:
  • Providing medication-assisted treatment in jails.
  • For patients who come to medical appointments as a follow-up to surgery, providing drop boxes for them to return any unused opioids or even antibiotics.
  • Considering who in the community is not represented in collaborative work to address the crisis and finding a way to engage them.

Following his remarks, participating members of the Opioid Consortium had the opportunity to share briefly what they are each doing within their own organizations, as well as collaboratively as a group, to address the problem.

"It’s important to hear about the great work going on like what’s happening here,” said Dr. Adams. “I’m so proud of the progress you all are making. I leave here heartened."

MORE: For more on the Opioid Consortium’s visit with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, contact us.

TWEETABLE: During his visit w/ the NE Ohio Hospital #OpioidConsortium on May 29 the U.S. @Surgeon_General shared action steps everyone can take to help end the opioid crisis.