Summit on heroin crisis in Northeast Ohio aims to combat addiction with action plan

CLEVELAND - The heroin epidemic that is plaguing Northeast Ohio communities is growing by the day, but awareness of the problem is also beginning to pick up steam.

A day long summit is scheduled to be held in Cleveland to address the ongoing issues with heroin abuse in Northeast Ohio. The summit has gained so much interest that open seats for the event have already been filled.

Within days of the announcement that the Cleveland Clinic and United States Attorney's Office would co-host "Heroin: A Crisis Facing Our Entire Community" on Thursday Nov. 21 at The InterContinental Hotel, event organizers have had more than 600 people sign up to attend, with an additional 50 that have been placed on a waiting list.

"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 in a press release. "The fight against heroin is not just about arrests.  It is also about prevention and treatment."

"Heroin: A Crisis Facing Our Entire Community" will look at heroin abuse from the perspectives of the medical, treatment, education, prevention and law enforcement communities. The goal of the summit is to develop a community action plan complete with strategies and next steps in combating heroin addiction.

According to the U.S. Marshals, heroin related deaths are up about 400 percent in recent years in Northeast Ohio. Police and prosecutors say they have seen an influx in both the availability of heroin and the number of heroin-related crimes that go with it.

Likewise, doctors are looking for ways to effectively treat pain will responsibly prescribing opioids, which many experts say are becoming overprescribed and can lead to addiction. Often times when people who are addicted to opioids can no longer obtain the medicine, they turn to heroin as a last resort.

"We support the efforts of the U.S. 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 in a press release. "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." 

WHAT: Heroin: A Crisis Facing Our Entire Community

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 21, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: The InterContinental Hotel, 9801 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland, 44106

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