How the Central Ohio Symphony helped those suffering in the state’s opioid crisis

Posted on: June 25, 2020

“According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, Ohio was second in the nation in deaths resulting from opioid overdoses,” writes Peter Tonguette in the spring issue of Humanities, from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Scholars Daniel Skinner and Berkeley Franz’s new book, Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio, “takes the full measure of the opioid epidemic in the Buckeye State. Yet, instead of simply presenting another recitation of facts and figures, Skinner and Franz … rounded up first-person submissions from Ohioans from all walks of life.… Among those approached … was Warren W. Hyer, the executive director of the Central Ohio Symphony, who, starting in 2013, spearheaded a program of therapeutic drumming for adults and juveniles passing through the court system in Delaware County—some of whom, Hyer deduces, have issues with opioids. ‘I don’t always know why they are there,’ says Hyer, who contributed a chapter to the book…. ‘I’ve had somebody say, “I’m here because I want to get out of this [addiction].” ’ … The drumming is not intended as a cure-all, but gives participants a new voice of sorts. ‘This really gives them a chance to talk in a different kind of way,’ Hyer says.”