Dayton, Ohio is to become home to a tech-enabled treatment center for opioid addiction being built by Alphabet, the holding company for Google. The center, which was designed by Verily and will be run by OneFifteen, will open in summer of 2019 and it is expected to be completed by 2020. Ohio was chosen because opioid overdoses in the Midwestern region increased by 70% from July 2016 to September 2017 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alphabet is not alone in taking up the challenge:
This co-incides with an announcement from The Holistic Sanctuary, that it will re-launch the worlds’ most exclusive facility where clients will pay upwards of $500K per month for its revolutionary, proprietary treatments that covers a complete range of lifestyle issues including addiction.
This clearly shows that effort is underway to help people from all walks of life, with affordable, sponsored facilities such as this one in Ohio – as well as high-end Beverly Hills facilities for those who seek more private, exclusive care from experts like Johnny Tabaie and his team of Doctors who has been breaking ranks in recent years to deliver industry leading results with addiction recovery.
The extent of the problem is gigantic:
Addiction to opioids has become America’s number one public health problem. In fact, it has reached an epidemic level. In 2016 alone, 42,000 people died from opioid overdose and 40% of these deaths were due to prescription opioids. The number of deaths rose to more than 47,000 in 2017 due to prescription opioids, fentanyl (an illicitly manufactured synthetic opioid) and heroin. In the same year, about 1.7 million Americans suffered from substance abuse disorders connected to prescription opioid pain killers. Such is the seriousness of this epidemic that it reduced the life expectancy of Americans.
The abuse of opioids is driven in part by the need for strong medication to relieve pain. Acute pain plus chronic pain caused by injury, surgery, autoimmune diseases and chronic health problems necessitates the use of strong pain killers so that people can live without pain.
Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive and they are wreaking havoc with people’s lives. People are losing friends and relatives. Children are left parentless and require the state to take over and put them in foster care. The new addiction center in Dayton, Ohio, is definitely needed in that state to rehabilitate opioid addicts. Similar centers are needed in other states that are losing too many people to addiction and death by overdose.
CNN weighing in on this:
It is actually President Donald Trump who has been taking a firm stance against the opioid crisis. Whereas he usually opposed by CNN in just about every initiative, it seems that on this issue they are rather aligned.
First lady Melania Trump on the Opioid crisis:
CNN Business interviewed Kentucky’s Attorney-General whose state has been devastated by the opioid addiction crisis. He said the opioid crisis is the biggest challenge and the biggest crisis of our life time. “We lose 30 Kentuckians per week due to overdose… We have over 100 babies born addicted every month.” He says this is creating family crises all over the state and the cost to the state is too high as there are more kids in foster care right now than any other time. He believes these opioids should not be distributed so freely because they are highly addictive. That is why they have filed over nine lawsuits from his office, including Johnson and Johnson. Obviously, addiction centers similar to the one opening in Dayton are required in Kentucky as well while the lawsuits go through the courts.
The new center in Dayton Ohio will be run by OneFifteen, a non-profit organization that was formed by Alphabet’s life sciences unit Verily, and REIT Alexandria Real Estate. They each own 50% of the facility. These key investors and partners announced the center in February 2019.
According to the president and chief executive of OneFifteen, Marti Taylor, the name of the company is in honor of 115 people who died daily in 2017 because opioid overdose (according to statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Now the death rate has increased. “It’s a staggering statistic and we hope the number comes down.” One day the name of the organization will change to something else.
The addiction center will consist of clinical services, an out-patient center, family reunification services, six buildings for inpatients, mixed purpose buildings and other social services.
OneFifteen will not wait for the completion of the facility since they want to start working with patients later this summer. In an interview with CNN Business, Marti Taylor, the president and Chief Executive Officer of OneFifteen, said, “We have a pretty big bold vision. We’re excited to get started and move pretty quickly. This crisis is something we really want to tackle head on.” Marti Taylor agrees that opioid addition is possibly the worst public health problem that is as serious as the AIDS/HIV crisis in the 1980s and 1990s. Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/14/tech/opioid-crisis-dayton-alphabet-verily-alexandria/index.html
OneFifteen believes that technology and recovery can work together seamlessly. Verily, Alphabet’s health data company, is well known for its wearable health devices such as the health watch that has electrocardiogram technology. Now it is embarking on larger American problems through this addiction facility. It is working together with Kettering Health Network (who operate Ohio hospital), Premier Health, Samaritan Behavioral Health and Alexandria Real Estate Equities to establish tech-enabled OneFifteen.
It is hoped that Verily’s technical know-how will help to evolve addiction treatment as they research new ways to help the addicts. They will use data analytics to measure the effectiveness of the treatment. However, Marti Taylor, the chief executive of OneFifteen, said that Alphabet is very much aware that technology is not the only way to treat addicts. The focus will also be on the community, the addicts, the physical facilities and the technology. Therefore, the center will be high-tech but also high-touch.
Marti Taylor is a former nurse who also worked as a hospital administrator at Ohio and Duke State. She compares opioid addiction to other chronic illnesses that Verily is planning to tackle such as heart disease and diabetes. She is aware that addiction treatment is not a 30-day process where people are fixed and then they move on.
According to Marti Taylor, OneFifteen will initially tackle addicts in Ohio but later the model will be replicated in other parts of the country where opioid abuse is a huge problem. Noting that affordability may be a problem, Taylor said the organization will try by all means try to make treatment affordable. She expects at least 50% of her patients to have Medicaid and other types of government insurance. As for the others she said, “We won’t turn the uninsured away and will work hard with them so they can get some type of coverage. We want to be accessible.”
Will OneFifteen reduce the death rate due to the abuse of opioids? Marti Taylor is aware this is not going to be easy. Treatment will require deep commitment from all people concerned. However, she hopes that the years that were spent studying and treating addiction will bear fruit.