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There is a word in Hebrew for people like me, those who choose to leave their country and move to Israel: We are called olim, from the word la’alot, meaning to rise or “go up” to the land. We step into the unknown, away from our family and friends, our jobs, our comforts and our mother tongues to fulfill the destiny God promised Abraham and his descendants.

Almost 30 years ago, my husband, Jeff, and I left Maryland and moved to the southern city of Beer Sheva, the cultural capital of the Negev desert. Jeff’s sister had moved there several years earlier, and what she told us about life in Israel spoke to a longing in our souls.

We were in our twenties, seeking something we hadn’t been able to find anywhere else—a spiritual belonging. We wanted to feel closer to God and be among other religious Jews. That didn’t mean leaving everything we knew behind would be easy. Trekking halfway around the world to start a new life, becoming impoverished in a second language.… We’re like Abraham himself, I thought.

 

Abraham had journeyed to what is now Beer Sheva, led only by God’s calling. Had our patriarch been as nervous as we were? He struggled to make a life. When locals stole from the wells that Abraham had built, he was forced to confront the Philistine king Abimelech.

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Round two of worries to contend with. Two weeks ago, we received word that the physiotherapist in Mom’s care facility was diagnosed with COVID-19. It was highly unlikely that Mom would be infected from the physiotherapist. He wore protective gear throughout his twice-weekly sessions with the residents. And Mom barely participates in those activities. What worried me was if he had infected other staff or residents—those people who she is more exposed to—she could pick it up.

Thankfully, we passed that hurdle with flying colors. 

Now, there is more to worry about. Two residents at Mom’s care facility have been taken to hospital after contracting COVID-19; four staff members are in isolation. 
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INTRODUCTION 

 

As the opioid epidemic in the United States continues to accelerate at an alarming rate, so do the challenges of sharing and managing medical information across institutional and state lines and tracking and detecting counterfeit opioids. Every day in the US alone, more than 130 people overdose on opioids. Last year, more than 93,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US, the highest number ever recorded in a single year. There are more than 14,000 treatment centers across the US and the number is growing. A total of 3.7 million people received treatment in 2020, but facilities are filled to capacity and there are not enough beds. 

 

Despite the regulatory legal and privacy ramifications of medical data-sharing and data-gathering, what once seemed an insurmountable barrier can be alleviated by advanced technology, specifically, blockchain. The use 

of blockchain technology offers a decentralized, transparent, secure, and compliant way to create data liquidity, meaning the easy flow of data from one silo to another. It also offers interoperability, the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of previously protected or horded information. 

 

Blockchain technology offers a tamper-proof reliability in its data collection and storage that does not currently exist among the many individualized data collection programs used by most health care stakeholders; its security and ability to encrypt personal information can be mined for positive change in the fight against the opioid epidemic, allowing organizations, often across state and even county lines, to share, compile and compare statistics without impinging on the rights of patients. Click here to read more.