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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office among numerous community partners to host daylong conference next month on the opioid epidemic

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

The United States Attorney’s Office and Cleveland Clinic, together with numerous community partners, will be hosting a daylong conference on Sept. 6 focused on solutions to the opioid and narcotics epidemic.

The conference will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel, 9801 Carnegie Ave. It will mark five years since many of the partners first joined together to raise awareness about the growing heroin and opioid problem that had surfaced in Northeast Ohio and throughout the country. That conference resulted in a Community Action Plan which focused on solutions in four different areas: education and prevention, treatment, healthcare policy and law enforcement.

The 2013 conference and Community Action Plan led to the formation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which was hailed as a national model and replicated across the country. Members of the group contributed to numerous achievements in the intervening years, including increasing access to Narcan, developing new protocols to how police handle drug overdose scenes, increased training for physicians about the potential side effects of prescription opioids, public awareness campaigns, and the formation of a consortium to coordinate the response from the various medical systems in Greater Cleveland, among others.

The conference on Sept. 6 will focus on how the crisis has changed in the past five years, and fashioning responses that incorporate best practices and lessons learned. The emphasis will be on refining the Community Action Plan and coordinating comprehensive responses to what is both a public health and law enforcement crisis.

“The scope and nature of the problem has changed, in part because of the introduction of fentanyl and carfentanil, so our responses need to evolve as well,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “The hope is this conference will help coordinate the efforts to turn the tide on an epidemic that has caused a staggering amount of pain and loss in our community.”

“Conferences like this are so critical to our community.  We need so many parts of our society to take action to have an impact on this terrible problem,” said David Streem, M.D., Section Head of the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center at Cleveland Clinic. “First responders, treatment programs, the courts, hospitals, schools, the recovery community—these and so many more have important roles to play.”

The agenda for the Sept. 6 conference is still being finalized, but topics expected to be covered include the need to develop a common set of data that can be shared, expanding programs that have been shown to work, such as quick response teams, recovery coaches and medically assisted treatment, efforts to reduce the number of pain pills prescribed, and others.

Among the groups and organizations that have participated in the planning and/or are expected to present at the conference include: the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System, University Hospitals, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Cuyahoga County, City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County, Cuyahoga County Department of Health, Circle Health, Cleveland Division of Police, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and others.

Use the link below to register:  


Mike Tobin

Updated August 7, 2018

Community Outreach