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Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press

Overprescription of pain pills has caused untold damage in Cabell County and Huntington. The attorney representing the two government entities says the starting point for determining damages is $500 million.

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — Ohio communities will be part of a $350 million federal study analyzing drug intervention techniques and policies.

Ten Ohio counties will be among the first wave of communities participating in the National Institutes of Health's HEALing Communities Study, The Portsmouth Daily Times reported.

About $66 million will be channeled for the study through Ohio State University to Ashtabula, Athens, Cuyahoga, Darke, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Lucas, Morrow and Scioto counties.

The study will also look at communities in Kentucky, New York and Massachusetts.

It will launch in December and is expected to last four years.

Mike Martin, the health commissioner for Scioto County in southern Ohio, is grateful his county has been included.

"What we are doing still clearly is not working as much as we might've hoped and prayed for," Martin said. "We still have way too many people dying unnecessarily."

Martin said some of the study's goals include reducing opioid deaths by 40%, expanding medically assisted treatment for opioid use disorder and reducing high-risk opioid prescribing.

Federal officials hope the study will help government officials at all levels determine best practices for combatting a national opioid epidemic that has killed 400,000 people since 2000.

Research sites will test community engagement strategies and several proven opioid prevention and treatment practices.

Nine Ohio counties — Allen, Brown, Franklin, Huron, Jefferson, Ross, Stark, Williams and Wyandot — will be part of the study's second wave.

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Information from: Portsmouth Daily Times, http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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