The MetroHealth System is creating an Office of Opioid Safety — the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio — to focus on education, advocacy and treatment.
The office, which is scheduled to open July 1, will offer communication tools to better connect with at-risk patients and resources to help patients with pain management and addition recovery, according to a news release.
Dr. Joan Papp, MetroHealth emergency medicine physician, has been tapped to lead the new office, which will use data and analytics to identify patients who may be at risk for opioid abuse and to educate providers on policy and best practices for safe use of opioids.
Papp is the founder and medical director of Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone), an overdose education and naloxone distribution program that has saved more than 730 lives from opioid overdose since its inception in 2013. Project DAWN has also distributed more than 5,000 kits with naloxone, the drug that blocks or reverses effects of opioid medication overdose, according to a news release.
"MetroHealth has been at the epicenter of the opioid overdose epidemic," said Dr. Bernie Boulanger, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of MetroHealth, in a statement. "Cuyahoga County experienced nearly double the number of opioid overdoses in 2016 than the year before. We have the skill, experience and data to make a significant impact in curbing this issue and we are fortunate to have Dr. Papp lead this effort."
Papp is chair of the health care policy subcommittee of the U.S. Attorney's Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which was established in 2013 to address the region's expanding epidemic. It was honored in 2016 with the Attorney General's Award, the highest honor given by the Justice Department, according to a news release.
"Dr. Papp has saved hundreds of lives and become a national leader by working collaboratively to raise awareness about the causes of, and solutions to, the opioid epidemic," said Carole Rendon, US Attorney, in a statement. "Both she and MetroHealth are to be commended. This new position will give her a bigger platform from which to continue her life-saving work and will make our community stronger."
"MetroHealth creates Office of Opioid Safety" originally appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business.