The Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring (OSAM) Network consists of eight regional epidemiologists (REPIs)* located in the following regions: Akron-Canton, Athens, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.
The OSAM Network conducts focus groups and individual qualitative interviews with active and recovering drug users and community professionals (treatment providers, law enforcement officials, etc.) to produce epidemiological descriptions of local substance abuse trends. Qualitative findings are supplemented with available statistical data such as coroner’s reports and crime laboratory data. Mass media sources such as local newspapers are also monitored for information related to substance abuse trends. Once integrated, these valuable sources provide the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) with a real-time method of providing accurate epidemiological descriptions that policy makers need to plan appropriate prevention and intervention strategies.
The OSAM Network creates three types of publications:
- Drug trend reports are comprehensive reports that provide general epidemiological descriptions of substance abuse trends across the state, focusing on drug availability, prices, quality and abuse patterns. Reports are published on a semiannual basis, shortly after OSAM researchers meet as a group in January and June of each year.
- Critical findings are also disseminated through “OSAM-O-GRAMS,” one-page summary reports that briefly and graphically represent significant substance abuse trends.
- Targeted Response Initiatives typically focus on specific substance abuse-related issues that OhioMHAS has determined need further investigation.