Cleveland Clinic and USAG's Office host summit on heroin epidemic

Cleveland Clinic and USAG's Office host summit on heroin epidemic
Heroin Summit at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland
Heroin Summit at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland

The Cleveland Clinic and United States Attorney's Office, together with many partners, hosted a daylong summit Thursday on the growing heroin epidemic in Northeast Ohio.

"Heroin: A Crisis Facing Our Entire Community" examined heroin abuse from the perspectives of the medical, treatment, education, prevention and law enforcement communities.

The day culminated with the development of community action plan that laid out strategies and the steps to take in turning back the tide of heroin addiction.

"Greater Cleveland's leading institutions are coming together to find solutions to this public health crisis," said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "The fight against heroin is not just about arrests.  It is also about prevention and treatment."

"We support the efforts of the US Attorney's Office for bringing together this collaboration to stop the escalating abuse of heroin taking place in our communities," said David Rowan, Cleveland Clinic's Chief Legal Officer. "Through this summit, we have an opportunity to fight this battle on multiple levels by bringing together healthcare providers, criminal investigators, and experts in addiction and counseling."

The threat is real. Heroin overdose fatalities are up about 400% in recent years in parts of Northeast Ohio. Police and prosecutors report a huge influx in both the availability of heroin and the number of heroin-related crimes.

There are also significant challenges from this crisis that are facing the medical profession. Doctors are grappling with how to effectively treat pain will responsibly prescribing opioids. Treatment professionals struggle with how to provide resources and help to people struggling with addiction, while parents, educators and others search for effective strategies to keep people from trying heroin in the first place.

The event featured speakers at the forefront of dealing with the heroin epidemic, as well as panel discussions and breakout sessions.

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