Opioid Solutions: Ohio puts out call for new ideas to combat epi - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Opioid Solutions: Ohio puts out call for new ideas to combat epidemic

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As part of our solution-based reporting on the addiction crisis, we traveled to the state's capital, where in an unusual move, Ohio is putting a call out to the world for new ideas to combat the opioid epidemic. 

What is called The Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge is challenging caregivers, researchers and everyday citizens to be part of the solution.

There are stories in Ohio and nationwide that are far too familiar, stories like one told to 21 News by mother Jackie Lewis of Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus.

"My son has gotten beat up.  I have found him many times in his room or on a floor unresponsive, thinking he's gone, he's gone," said Lewis.

Lewis said her son is now 29 and was prescribed four different painkillers, including Vicodin and oxycodone by a doctor for scoliosis when he was in the seventh grade.  

She would later learn that's when he became addicted.

David Goodman is the Director of Ohio Development Services Agency and the Chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, and he kicked off the meeting for the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge aimed at finding new solutions for a national epidemic.

"Because of the challenges, and they are many, the answers may come from anywhere.  Ohio wants everyone's help," said Goodman. 

During his State of the State address, Ohio Governor John Kasich asked the Third Frontier Commission to commit millions to find new technology solutions to the opioid abuse and addiction problem.

Now Ohio has launched an $8 million effort focused on just that.

Dr. Andy Zynga, Ph.D. is the CEO of NineSignm North America, Inc.

His company will vet the ideas, just like they did for a similar project related to the NFL and concussions and helping generate ideas for prevention.

"It starts with an idea phase in which both the technical community and the public at large are invited to submit ideas and approaches that will address prevention, treatment, and intervention," said Dr. Zynga. 

That means those on the front line of the war on drugs, service providers or moms can be among those who can submit ideas.

If their idea is selected in the first phase, they can receive $10,000 for one of the top prizes.

The people in Columbus realize Ohio's epidemic is not getting better, it's getting worse.  

That's why The Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge is inviting the world to get involved, hoping someone can solve this epidemic.

To apply, click here.

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