Ohio medical professionals team up in battle against opioid addictions

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — More than 600 doctors, nurses, coroners and others spent the day together studying what is and isn’t working in the battle against opioid addictions.

The Ohio Department of Health said 4,050 Ohioans died from drug overdoses last year. 50,000 more are in recovery.

The numbers are straining every service involved.

The statewide meeting held at OSU’s 4H Center included 18 satellite locations. It was meant to bring together medical professionals for education on substance abuse, opioid addiction treatment and the need for continued care.

Amy Parker is now one of them, a peer counselor.

BrightView's peer support specialist, Amy Parker

“Most people look at me and they would never imagine that I have a criminal record, that I use to be heroin addict, that I walked away from my daughter. I was a thief and a liar,” said Parker.

Her point being she said is drug addiction is a disease without a quick fix.

“It takes a lot of time and compassion and a lot of therapy to build up a person’s life coming through substance abuse disorder,” said Parker, who has custody of her 14-year-old and is the mother of an infant.

Dr. Shawn Ryan said treatment for addiction is key for those wanting to recover and is beneficial for all of us as well.

BrightView's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shawn Ryan

“We definitely need to spend more money on treatment, but the good news is that has a huge return on investment, so every dollar we spend is high as eighteen in return, so we should look at it as an investment in our community,” said Dr. Ryan, who is the President of the Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine.


The Ohio Attorney General said 12 people die every day from this drug epidemic. He asked what we would do if this was a terrorist attack?

“You know we would be up in arms. We would have the National Guard out. We would be going crazy. Yet that is what is happening every single day, we are losing that many people,” said Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Dr. Shawn Ryan, speaking at the event

Ohio babies are born addicted to drugs every day, and the Ohio Attorney General said half of all children in foster care have parents who are drug addicts.

Link to original article and video with BrightView’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shawn Ryan and our peer support specialist, Amy Parker here: Ohio medical professionals team up in battle against opioid addictions