David Versus the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is a giant causing tremendous loss, pain and suffering — especially in the midwest.

I was called to action and with few resources, I did my best to make an impact.

  • Opened an opioid recovery clinic for a non-profit (now part of CND)

  • Based on ‘Food Deserts’ model, created ‘Recovery Deserts’ Project with Ohio State to determine whether access to treatment centers mattered for patient adherence in recovery

  • Co-author of ‘Recovery Deserts’ paper with several Ohio State professors proving location and access to treatment centers matters for patients

  • Created Franklin County Task Force pocketcard for Central Ohio docs with all available resources for pregnant moms in substance abuse disorder

  • Helped wrangle media and develop communication plan for Franklin County Opioid Summit


Discussing my work in the opioid epidemic in Ohio and calling for more teamwork between disparate organizations and the communities working to address the challenge.

The story…

My work started in 2005 when my business partner and I launched “the world’s first B-celerator” and worked for more than a year to help a non-profit create, staff and manage a fully operational intensive outpatient clinic with medication assisted treatment.

Yeah, that even sounds crazy to write here. But we did it.

We recruited the doctor, the clinical director, nurse, social workers and so on. We dealt with the certifications, insurance, reaching out to the stakeholders, and more.

It wasn’t easy — we had no budget. I personally funded all expenses that weren’t part of the non-profits operating budget.

The constraints forced us to innovate — and innovate we did. In fact, the entire clinic was only the beginning of a larger goal of putting a WellHQ clinic in every area that needed it.


Recovery Deserts

When we launched, I recognized that all of our patients were primarily coming from the neighborhood — the near east side in Columbus. It occurred to me that without our services, our neighbors were trapped in a ‘Recovery Desert.’

Recovery Deserts J.2017 Community Update.gif

I pitched the idea to a friend, Dr. Harvey Miller who is a chair at The Ohio State University’s geography department. He ran with the idea and recruited several colleagues at OSU who could provide public health data science and medical help.

The academic paper studying the idea of Recovery Deserts is complete. Along with all the colleagues that contributed to the paper, I am a co-author. I will post a link when it’s published.