Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) was awarded a three-year Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Overdose Data to Action Grant, which will bring $3.9 million dollars a year to our community to fight the opiate crisis. The purpose of the funding is to obtain high quality, more comprehensive, and timelier data on overdose morbidity and mortality, and use the data to inform prevention and response efforts.
“This funding opportunity will enable us to expand and enhance existing partnerships in innovative ways to respond to this community crisis,” said Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola. “Together we will have the ability to create an enhanced infrastructure to support data integration, further develop strategies to establish opioid prevention and surveillance activities, and ultimately reduce the number of opioid- related fatalities in our community.”
Franklin County and Columbus have already made great collaborative strides to work together to fight the opiate crisis through the Columbus and Franklin County Addiction Plan (originally adopted as the Franklin County Opiate Action Plan in 2017).
This CDC grant will enable partners to take that work a step further. This year alone, FCPH will be sending nearly $2.3 million out to partner organizations to continue their great work. Partner agencies include: Columbus Division of Fire; Columbus Public Health; Educational Service Center of Central Ohio; Equitas Health; Franklin County Children Services; Franklin County Coroner’s Office; Franklin County’s Office of Justice Policy and Programs; Mount Carmel Health System; Ohio Association of Community Health Centers; Ohio State University College of Public Health; Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus; OhioHealth; Ohio University; The Ohio State University College of Public Health, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
“Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that people neither choose, nor want,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Public Health Commissioner. “The addiction epidemic is a public health issue, and we must address it with the same understanding and commitment as we have with other epidemics like HIV.”
As the lead agency for the Overdose Data to Action grant, FCPH has the responsibility to enhance its opioid coalition building efforts by working across systems and organizations to expand data surveillance related to opioid use disorder, and use the data to expand and improve a series of prevention efforts for populations at risk of overdose and unintentional overdose death. FCPH will also work collaboratively to develop a communications and marketing campaign to address the stigma surrounding opioid use disorders with input from at-risk populations via focus groups. This portion of the grant will encompass over $479,000 in year one.
“We have a long way to go in this fight against addiction,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “But I believe in the work we are doing and I am encouraged by the federal help we are receiving for our community.”
The Columbus and Franklin County Addiction Plan Steering Committee will provide strategic guidance and support to FCPH with implementation of the grant. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners, the Office of Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, and agencies throughout the county that are touched by the opioid crisis collaboratively developed an aggressive plan to address opioids and now more broadly overall addiction.
“The opiate crisis is among the greatest challenges our community faces,” said Marilyn Brown, President of the Board of Commissioners. “Together we will continue to face this crisis head-on, and together we will be able to change lives for the better, help families rebuild, and begin to stem the tide of overdose deaths in Central Ohio.”