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Community Partners in Patient Safety: Hancock County Opiate Task Force

Date: December 3, 2014

We are proud to be part of a community that works together toward patient safety. Hancock County Opiate Task Force is a group of medical, legal, mental health and education professionals who recognize the need for collaboration to solve the problem of rampant substance abuse in their community.

Hancock County Prosecutor Mark Miller comments that while substance abuse is often associated with the criminal justice system, individuals who abuse drugs are more often found in the healthcare system. “This is not just a law enforcement problem,” he says. “This is a community-wide problem.”

Precia Stuby, Executive Director of Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services recommends thinking of addiction as a public health issue, rather than a disease. She reasons that if someone is mentally healthy and not using substances, they and their community are better off. “We can give everybody something to do to help and they can feel empowered that they are making a change and do not feel overwhelmed by the problem,” says Stuby.

“This really gets down to the health of the community as a whole,” says Deputy Director of City of Findlay Health Department Barb Wilhelm. The issue goes beyond economic and social demographics. “As we each starting look at it and see that we all own a little bit of the problem, we can put [differences] aside and see that we all own a little bit of the solution as well,” she says. “As a medical community, we are looking at what else can we do to reach out even further to make a difference and be part of the solution.”

Wilhelm co-chairs a subcommittee on the task force with Dr. William Kose, Chief Quality Officer at PMG partner Blanchard Valley Health System. The subcommittee seeks insight from healthcare providers to find solutions for the area’s overdose epidemic. PMG has been very active in this process.

“All communities can help other communities,” says Stuby. “There is nothing that we’ve done that we aren’t willing to share; we learn from others, they can learn from us. No one needs to start from scratch– we don’t have time.”

Watch the feature from WBGU-TV Northwest Ohio Journal here.

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