Opioid Crisis

Three images demonstrating drug use - a young man looking distressed, white powder with a spoon and syringe, and a person receiving guidance

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 116 people die each day from opioid-related drug overdoses. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

    Cuyahoga County Heroin Crime Initiative

    The Begun Center serves as a research and evaluation partner to the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Heroin and Crime Initiative, to evaluate the Heroin-Involved Death Investigations (HIDI) protocol for Cuyahoga County. This work is supported by the National Institute of Justice.

    Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force Logo

    The Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force was created to increase awareness of the dangers associated with the misuse of opiates/opioids as well as to implement strategies and policies that will have a positive impact on this epidemic. In addition to the Begun Center, the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Heroin and Crime Initiative (HCI) also includes the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office and the City of Cleveland Division of Police.

    The Begun Center and collaborators are working to support improved investigations and increasing the number of indictments of major heroin and opioid-related drug traffickers. More specifically the Begun Center is exploring the perceived effectiveness of Cuyahoga County’s Heroin-Involved Death Investigations protocol (the “HIDI protocol”) to strengthen the protocol’s role in the investigative process. The Begun Center also is analyzing local and federal prosecution data to add insight into the key elements supporting successful prosecutions of major traffickers at the local and federal levels.
    The Begun Center’s evaluation of CCMEO’s death data also is providing insight into the changes occurring in drug overdose deaths. This is process-oriented research working to get key stakeholders to the table to closely examine fatal drug overdose incidents. Doing so highlights the importance of non-fatal overdose incidents and engaging people into treatment. The Begun Center will be interviewing key stakeholders (i.e., detectives, ME investigators, prosecutors and data analysts) to identify areas of need, gaps, opportunities to decrease fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses, etc.

    Research Team: Daniel J. Flannery (Principal Investigator), Mark S. Fleisher (Co-PI), Karen Coen Flynn, Sarah E. Fulton

    Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-Based Program (COAP)

    The Begun Center is contracted through the Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board on this Bureau of Justice Assistance-funded grant project. The program aims to reduce inappropriate opioid use overdose facilities. As evaluation partner, the Begun Center will use Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System data (prescription monitoring), identify key partners in addressing the opioid crisis, and bring people together to improve access to and sharing of data. 

    Information from law enforcement, public/private health, behavioral health, and social welfare organizations are often maintained in different agencies and are not integrated to support broader community policies and practices. This funding supports the Data Subcommittee of the
    USANDO Heroin and Opioid Task Force (HOTF) in working to improve access to and sharing of data vital to stakeholders in the Northern District of Ohio by developing the Action Plan for creating a blueprint for an integrated IT data-sharing platform. This project leverages the existing partnerships of the HOTF, including the ADAMHS Board, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, the Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, CCPO, CDP, CCMEO, Cuyahoga County Drug Court, the Begun Center, BioEnterprise, Accenture, and members of the treatment and user communities.

    Research Team: Daniel J. Flannery (Principal Investigator), Mark S. Fleisher, Karen Coen Flynn, Angela K. Kavadas


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