Cleveland’s best take steps to address the opioid epidemic

Aram Nerpouni is not trying to solve the nation’s opioid epidemic through his work with Accenture and the Global Center for Health Innovation. He’s trying to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive effort to combat this crisis that kills more than 115 people in the U.S. every day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Everyone at some level feels the pain of this crisis,” says Nerpouni, president and CEO at BioEnterprise. “The idea is to identify some first steps to where bringing the right people and the right information together can lead to more informed decisions that hopefully will have a more direct impact on what’s going on.”

Expert perspective
A working group has been formed to explore data-driven solutions that better integrate the continuum of addiction services — first responders, ER, inpatient, outpatient and behavioral health personnel — to improve treatment and move toward prevention.

An executive briefing was held in March that included experts from these sectors, the offices of Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ohio Third Frontier and the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, along with other groups.

“The challenge here is bringing these thought leaders together and really getting an understanding from their perspective of what the challenges are,” Nerpouni says. “This project convened here at the Global Center with Accenture as a key partner to try to bring all these people together who see parts of what the puzzle is and figure out how they can work together more effectively.”

Working together
BioEnterprise was formed 15 years ago with the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University to grow the bioscience industry in Northeast Ohio.

“Part of what BioEnterprise does, it’s not only helping individual companies, it’s jumping into these public/private partnerships that are aligned with health care and the bioscience industry and helping them to grow,” Nerpouni says. “We want this building to be an active, creative platform that addresses health care problems that are too big for any one organization to solve on their own. You can see how that fits into the opioid crisis.”

Ohio, unfortunately, is ground zero for the opioid crisis, Nerpouni says.

“If we can solve for it here in Cleveland, this is something we can share with other communities around the country to help them,” Nerpouni says. “We’ll have a much clearer picture of what the real issues are and that’s what will lead to the first pilot projects.”