The plague of heroin and opiate abuse that’s descended on Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky — not to mention much of the rest of America — is enough to make many people throw up our hands in dismay. But not Ann Barnum, vice president of community strategies at Interact for Health
She’s been dealing with this complex issue for years, her efforts focused on fostering collaboration with agencies and individuals concerned about what havoc addiction is wreaking on area residents, especially young people, the most likely and vulnerable users.
Barnum knows the horrifying truth behind drug abuse, since she’s worked for more than three decades with organizations in the region dealing with substance use disorders. She’s been with Interact for 16 years. The organization — a nonprofit serving 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana — is a catalyst for health and wellness
. Barnum has been a passionate advocate for eliminating opioid abuse in the region.
Asked how this epidemic came about, she offers a clear explanation.
“It started with an opiate prescription epidemic,” Barnum says. “Too many opiate pain killers were being prescribed.”
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