Ohio University  President Duane Nellis announced the creation of a new opioid task force Thursday. 

Randy Leite, the dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions, and Kenneth Johnson, the executive dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, will be the co-chairs of the task force, which will also include faculty, staff and administrators from both the Athens and regional campuses in addition to community members. 

“Right now, many of our communities are hurting because of this epidemic, and Ohio University has a moral obligation to assist the communities we serve,” Nellis said in a university news release. “By forming this task force, we can combat this epidemic in a concerted, coordinated manner and leverage our collective expertise to save lives and enact real change toward the betterment of our region.”

The group will review what the university has done to help the opioid epidemic and assess university experts and resources who can help develop partnerships in the region and state.

The task force will work to coordinate interdisciplinary efforts like education, research and community engagement at all of the OU campuses. Members will also "leverage existing public-private partnerships across Appalachia" and Ohio to identify and implement different solutions to many effects of opioid abuse, according to the release.

Another goal of the group is to develop an interdisciplinary model that will help those in the region. The task force will begin its work in the coming weeks.

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