The MetroHealth System Announces Office of Opioid Safety
First in Northeast Ohio; focus on education, advocacy and treatment
The MetroHealth System announced today it is creating an Office of Opioid Safety, which will focus on education, advocacy and treatment. The office is the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio.The Office of Opioid Safety will offer educational opportunities for providers and the community, communication tools to help providers connect better with at-risk patients and resources to help patients with pain management and addiction recovery. Data and analytics will be used to identify patients who may be at risk for opioid abuse. Data from prescribing patterns will be used to educate providers on policy and best practices for safe opioid use. MetroHealth emergency medicine physician Joan Papp, MD, a nationally recognized authority on opioid abuse, will lead the new office. Dr. Papp is the founder and medical director of Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone), a community-based overdose education and naloxone distribution program. Since its inception in 2013, Project DAWN has saved more than 730 lives from opioid overdose and has distributed more than 5,000 kits with naloxone, the drug that blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication overdose. “MetroHealth has been at the epicenter of the opioid overdose epidemic,” said Bernie Boulanger, MD, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of MetroHealth. “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.”Dr. Papp is chairperson of the health care policy subcommittee of the U.S. Attorney’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which was honored in 2016 with the Attorney General’s Award, the highest honor given by the Justice Department. The Task Force was established in 2013 to address the region’s expanding epidemic.“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. "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.”The Office of Opioid Safety is planned to open July 1.