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Wharton graduate Zack Gray is the co-founder and CEO of Ophelia, which seeks to replace opioid rehabilitation treatment with telemedicine (Photo from Ophelia).

Zack Gray, 2019 MBA Wharton graduate, co-founded Ophelia, an online resource that seeks to improve access to opioid addiction treatment.

Ophelia, founded in 2019 by Gray and Columbia Business School faculty member Mattan Griffel, replaces rehabilitation treatment with telemedicine, providing its users with online doctors’ visits, prescribed medicine, and more.

“I was a business school student at Wharton, and a former girlfriend of mine died of an overdose. I was very involved in her attempt to get help and saw a system that was poorly designed for people who need access to treatment for addiction,” Gray told The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Ophelia aims to facilitate access to medication-assisted treatment, which can reduce overdoses by 75% but is difficult to receive from doctors. According to Gray, many people currently turn to the black market for MAT, which is unreliable, expensive, and illegal. 

“It’s extremely rewarding to get to help people and to make an impact immediately. Some people lost their jobs and their families. When they have access to care, we can make a change in a matter of weeks,” Gray said.

According to Gray, the healthcare system does not offer practitioners enough money to provide sufficient care for opioid addiction.  

“A patient that doesn't get treatment ends up in the emergency room, which ends up costing the healthcare system far more. If the healthcare system were smart and would pay a little bit more upfront, more providers would offer [MAT], fewer people would die, and cost would go down as a whole,” Gray said. 

To fund their startup to provide medication using telemedicine, Griffel and Gray were accepted into Y Combinator, an early-stage startup accelerator program. 

“We’ve been successful at raising our money, and we’re working to make our business sustainable financially,” Gray said. 

He attributes much of his business acumen to his education at Wharton. 

“I didn’t know the first thing about finance, economics, accounting,” Gray said. “So I went deep into my studies at Wharton and learned what it means to create value, to build a self-sustaining business, and to learn what to invest in and not to invest in. I think Wharton is one of the best places in the world to learn those things.”