Helping Communities Address the Opioid Crisis

Learn how our work on the opioid crisis has helped an Ohio county implement a coordinated and effective response.

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Lorain County, Ohio was struggling with a high rate of opioid overdoses. A local foundation enlisted Altarum to aid the community in creating a roadmap to guide the response and ensure efficient use of all available resources. We employed a three-phased approach of analyzing the problem, engaging the community in strategic planning, and identifying best practices and recommendations for action.

Our Approach

During Phase I, we completed an environmental scan and identified geographic gaps in the distribution of the county’s existing local treatment and recovery services. In Phase II, we conducted interviews and held focus groups with dozens of local stakeholders, including professionals in recovery service, health care, government, and faith-based and criminal justice organizations. And in Phase III, we reviewed evidence-based practices to address the opioid crisis that are relevant to the community.


We assembled this information into a roadmap that the community is now implementing. Because of our work, the county is employing effective practices informed by evidence, coordinating care more efficiently across organizations, and directing resources where the need is greatest.

Helping Communities Address the Opioid Crisis Contact

Contact Us

Emily Ehrlich

Emily Ehrlich  - MPH, PMP

Director, Behavioral Health

Areas of Expertise
  • Integration of Health Care Services
  • Substance Use Disorder Prevention
  • Quality Improvement & Clinical Decision Support

Emily has more than 25 years of experience in health care policy and research, including co-authoring 15 peer-reviewed publications and directing a CMS-funded program to train 4,000 primary care and behavioral health providers in depression screening and safe opioid prescribing. Emily leads Altarum’s behavioral health work, which includes implementing peer recovery programs, creating a patient outcomes registry to improve mood disorder treatment, and delivering training and technical assistance to help communities address the opioid crisis. Emily has a master’s degree in health behavior and health education and is a certified Project Management Professional.