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March 9, 2017ANOTHER VIEWPOINT CONTACT: Ron H. Graham, (440) 350-2543March 2, 2017 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICTANOTHER VIEWPOINT:FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS RATHER THAN PASSING JUDGEMENTThis is in response to Judge Diane V. Grendell’s Opinion article in the February 20, 2017 News-Herald. In her article, Judge Grendell argues that the opioid reversal drug naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, should not be used to save opioid drug users that have suffered an overdose because this action does not halt the flow of heroin into Ohio and enables those who abuse opioid drugs to continue their habit. In effect, she is stating that persons who use opioid drugs that have suffered an overdose should be left to die. There are several problems with this logic.First, there is no scientific evidence that the use of naloxone enables people who misuse opioid drugs. In fact, published studies have documented that, “naloxone precipitates the same unpleasant symptoms that opioid-dependent people are trying to stave off with their opioid use in the first place, except that, with naloxone, the symptoms are more intense. People who use opioids and who have experienced the acute withdrawal effects that accompany naloxone consistently deny that they are more comfortable using heroin frequently or in higher doses because of naloxone availability (Kim D, Irwin KS, Khoshnood, K. 2009. Expanded Access to Naloxone: Options for Critical Response to the Epidemic of Opioid Overdose Mortality. Am J Public Health. 99(3): 402-407.).” An additional study has found that naloxone access “is associated with a 9 to 11 percent reduction in opioid-related deaths,” and that naloxone access does not, “increase the recreational use of prescription painkillers (Rees DI, Sabia JJ, Argys LM, Latshaw J, Dave D. 2017. With a Little Health from My Friends: The Effects of Naloxone Access and Good Samaritan Laws on Opioid-Related Deaths. National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER paper 23171).”There is additional documented evidence that those who misuse opioid drugs who have such a near-death experience have a better chance of seeking and succeeding at treatment. Despite Judge Grendell’s statements, there is no evidence that, “giving naloxone to heroin addicts invites more and potentially more harmful heroin/fentanyl use.” Judge Grendell’s assertion that persons with a heroin addiction participate in “Lazarus parties” where they can be purposely revived is anecdotal at best.Second, solving the heroin crisis requires a multi-faceted approach, including education (of our children, adults, persons who misuse opioids and the medical community), treatment, legal interdiction and overdose prevention. Most law enforcement officers agree that we cannot arrest our way out of this issue and that the best law enforcement in the world will not totally stop the flow of drugs into Ohio.Finally, we cannot help persons who misuse drugs or get them into treatment if they are dead. If it were my friend, son, or daughter, I would certainly want them to be saved by a naloxone-equipped first responder, friend or relative. What would Judge Grendell say if it was her child? If a drunk driver is in a car accident, first responders and emergency room staff attend to their injuries and do not let them die in their car just because it is too expensive to care for them or because they were at fault. Naloxone is an antidote. We as a society do not withhold antidotes from those in need. The use of and easy access to naloxone is endorsed by the Federal (The White House, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and State Governments (Ohio Department of Health, the Governor of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services), as well as by the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.Given the current opioid epidemic, we need to focus on solutions rather than pass judgement on those who are clearly suffering from the disease of addiction and condemn one of the tools we have to save a life. The true goal of a public health system is that of preventing disease and death by working collaboratively and utilizing the most current scientific evidence available. ###
March 9, 2017FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Ron H. Graham, (440) 350-2543March 1, 2017 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT A FRESH START FORTHE LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT On Tuesday March 21st, 2017, the Lake County General Health District (Health District) will open its doors for business in its new home located at 5966 Heisley Road in Mentor. The new location represents a fresh start for the Health District after a long recovery process because of the devastating fire that occurred in late August, 2014. Despite numerous challenges, the Health District remained optimistic and continued to push past barriers and set precedents.One such precedent that the current Health Commissioner, Ron H. Graham, has established with the support of the Board of Health is the implementation and expansion of evening hours to better address the limited access of essential public health services after 4:30 p.m. Previously, very few services were available beyond 4:30 p.m. Now, multiple services will be available every Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., including, but not limited to, plumbing and sewage permits, food service licensing, immunizations, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, Narcan distribution and education, community education classes, vital statistics, and HIV testing and prevention. Health Commissioner, Ron H. Graham, stated, “I am surprised so many public agencies do not offer extended hours and we believe that it is critical to provide non-traditional work hours to enhance the public access to the services that they help fund.” Originally planned for 2015, Health Commissioner Graham was forced to put this on hold due to staffing and financial constraints resulting from the fire.The Health District will be hosting an Open House on Thursday, April 6th from noon until 2:30 PM at its new office to give an opportunity for the public and community partners to visit the new facility. Light refreshments will be provided as well as information on the Health District’s numerous programs and services.Despite the multiple challenges of recovering from the fire and navigating some serious financial changes as a result in state funding reimbursement; the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) approved the Health District as the 14th accredited health department in Ohio, making it among the first 170 in the nation. Currently, there are 118 health departments in the state of Ohio. The Ohio Revised Code requires that all Public Health Departments become accredited by 2020 in order to continue to receive crucial funding from the Ohio Department of Health. The current biennial budget introduced by the governor does provide additional funding for the health departments that are currently accredited to help assist with delivering core services of public health.The new building satisfies many challenges of the old 33 Mill Street location in Painesville, such as limited conference room space, building security issues, and a host of environmental problems, including repeated flooding. The 31,000-square foot, three-story facility provides over five conference rooms to better help meet the needs of convening task force and the committee meetings and trainings; and facilitating communication among stakeholder groups. The Health District is also looking for potential non-profit tenants that would help compliment the array of services currently provided by the Health District and increase convenience of accessing services for the public. Commissioner Graham stated, “We truly believe in cooperative and collaborative relationships among partners in an effort to better meet the missions of agencies in an environment that is currently challenging when it comes to funding and service stability.” Co-location of shared services is one option that should be explored to better serve the public efficiently and effectively.For more information on the Lake County General Health District, please visit us at www.lcghd.org. ###
December 23, 2016FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rachel Sray, (440) 350-2604December 21, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT NEW WIC DIRECTOR SEEKS TO MAKE LAKE COUNTY BREASTFEEDING COALITION YOUR ONE-STOP SHOP FOR BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT The Lake County Breastfeeding Coalition has a new leader and is reaching out to residents who are in need of breastfeeding support. The Coalition is led by the new Lake-Geauga County Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program Director Rachel Sray and includes other health professionals within the Lake County General Health District, Early Head Start, Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio, Inc., La Leche League of Lake County and Painesville, and Lake Health.The Coalition’s main goal is to promote breastfeeding and make breastfeeding a normal way of feeding infants in Lake County. “What we hope to accomplish this next year is to bridge the gap amongst community agencies, health care professionals, and businesses when it comes to breastfeeding,” commented Sray. This year will mark the beginning of the Coalition’s initiative to reach out to employers regarding breastfeeding policies. It’s important that employers within Lake County understand the role they play in a breastfeeding mom’s life and how they can best support those moms.”Although breastfeeding comes naturally to some women, others may experience challenges, especially in the first few weeks. It is important to know that many of these challenges can be overcome. There are several options in the area for breastfeeding support. Whether you’d prefer an in-person support group, one-on-one help, or an online support group, the help is there! See below for a listing of FREE breastfeeding support options in Lake County: OnlineIndividual In-Person Support GroupsLake County WIC: Join the online support group via Facebook (look for Lake County Peers)· Every Wednesday from 8:00-10:00 p.m. – open to ALL interested moms and pregnant women.Lake County WIC: By appointment only. FREE. Not sure if you’re eligible for WIC? Call us at 440-350-2552.Lake Health, Warm Line: Call 440-602-6625 for individual help over the phoneLake Health, Tri-Point: Call 440-354-1929 Monday through Friday to make an appointment. Lake Health -Tri-Point: 3rd floor· Every Wednesday morning 10:00-11:30 a.m. ORCleveland Clinic – Hillcrest North Campus:· Tuesday & Friday 11:00-12:30 p.m.· 1st & 3rd Wednesday 6:00-7:00 p.m.Cleveland Clinic- Willoughby Hills: Lower level of North building in Community Room B.· Every Thursday 1:00-2:30 p.m.Call ahead at 440-943-2500. For more information on the Lake County Breastfeeding Coalition or breastfeeding support options in Lake County, please call Rachel Sray at (440) 350-2604 or visit our website at https://www.lcghd.org/. ###
Lake County General Health District Receives Tobacco Prevention Grant November 28, 2016FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kathryn Milo, 440.350.2447November 28, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT RECEIVES $270,000 TOBACCO PREVENTION GRANT The Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) recently received a $270,000 tobacco prevention grant from the Ohio Department of Health. Together with, and as a member of the Lake Geauga Ashtabula Tobacco Prevention Coalition (LGATPC), LCGHD will continue current tobacco programming and create new tobacco prevention initiatives in Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula Counties.The LGATPC will work on four tobacco prevention priority areas:Coordination of youth-led tobacco education and advocacy groups;Adoption of outdoor tobacco-free policies in school districts, parks, event sites and businesses;Surveillance of tobacco retailer advertising; andAdoption of smoke-free policy in multi-unit housing in Metropolitan Housing Agencies, Section 8, and those of private owners.“This grant fills a great need for tobacco prevention efforts in the tri-county area,” commented Catherine Bevan, LCGHD Health Educator. According to Bevan, the 2011 Lake County Community Assessment revealed that the current Lake County adult smoking rate is 23.2%, while the current smoking rate for those 18 years and under is 19% in Lake County. In Geauga and Ashtabula counties, the adult smoking rate is 14% and 22%, respectively, while the current smoking rate for those 18 years under is 26% in Geauga County and 24% in Ashtabula County. The average age of onset of smoking in all counties is around 13 years of age.If you are interested in learning more about adopting a tobacco-free environment in your school, business or community, please contact Catherine Bevan at 440-350-2442. Members of the LGATPC include the Ashtabula City Health Department, Ashtabula County Health Department, Crossroads, Geauga County Health Department, Lake Area Recovery Center, Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board; LCGHD, and Ravenwood Health. ###
November 22, 2016FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Bert Mechenbier (440) 350-2543November 22, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CARBON MONOXIDE POISONINGEvery year, more than 500 people die from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. As we move into colder weather, Lake County General Health District is reminding everyone to protect themselves from sources of carbon monoxide poisoning that are more commonly in use this time of year.Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by furnaces, water heaters, small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. People and animals in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces with these items can be poisoned and die from breathing in CO.The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms. If you think you may have CO poisoning, call your doctor right away.To prevent CO poisoning:DO have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician each year.DO have at least one working carbon monoxide detector (They make great gifts!). Check the detector’s batteries twice annually, at the same time smoke detector batteries are checked. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911. Also, check the end of life date on the detector; it may need to be replaced.DO seek medical attention if you think you have CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.Do NOT use generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning products inside a home, basement, garage, camper, or even outside near an open window. This is especially important to remember during a power outage.Do NOT warm up or run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the garage door open. Make sure to shut off vehicles when parking in a garage.Do NOT burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.Do NOT heat your house with a gas oven. For more information on CO poisoning, call the Lake County General Health District at (440) 350-2543 or visit our website at https://www.lcghd.org/?page_id=3722 ###