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Beyond Medical Solutions

Michael Konstan knows the opioid crisis is much more than a medical problem.

So as a leader in a nearly $350 million federal effort to address it, he has engaged faculty from across the College of Arts and Sciences and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences— as well as his own colleagues in the School of Medicine.

The federal HEALing* Communities Study aims to reduce opioid deaths *Helping to End Addiction Long-term by 40 percent across 67 communities in four states—Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio— within three years.

The challenge for Ohio is enormous: In 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the state ranked second in the country for opioid deaths, with a rate 2.5 times higher than the national average.

Konstan is leading a team to work with eight highly impacted northern Ohio counties designated for the project—including the university’s own, Cuyahoga. The $66 million Ohio grant calls for data-driven approaches across disciplines including health, behavioral health, justice systems and community engagement.

Successfully combatting the opioid crisis, said Konstan, the medical school’s vice dean for translational research, “requires a strong collaborative effort.”

*Helping to End Addiction Long-term